Touching on our old friend, the tech support scam, we have some news coming from a well known member of the anti-scammer community, Lewis of Lewis’s Tech. To start with, we have the recent arrest of 4 people who were probably the masterminds behind a few groups: while we all know the calls originate in India, it seems for whatever reason the people behind these scam companies are based in the UK or the United States, and once discovered, it’s quite easy to get them, you know, being citizens in these countries, as opposed to the hell it is to get arrests to happen in India.
I would dare say though these UK arrests are the direct result of last years arrests in India – the articles, according to Lewis, do say this was several years of effort on the Police part in the UK, and those arrests last year would be a logical step in getting information on who is really the leader of a given support scam.
Lewis goes on in the video to discuss that in many cases the people scammed have no idea they have been lied to, and that they often are older people, with an average age of 62 years old, and an average cost of over 600 Pounds, an equivalent to over $800 USD.
The details he goes into on how some people get baited are sad alone, but he has also discovered that there are criminal groups on Facebook (as well as probably other sites) where they are selling information around! Credit card info, other personal information, all up for grabs on the black market!
His secondary point is that in the upcoming versions of Windows Server and Windows 10, Syskey, the tool many scammers use to lock down victims computers, holding them for ransom or otherwise punishing those who don’t pay, is being removed!
Now, Syskey has valid security uses, but is honestly weak in today’s cryptographic world. Indeed, it’s somewhat trivial, with the right tools, to remove Syskey from a locked system, and while a novice user has no chance to getting around such, anyone remotely skilled with computers can solve the issue – this means it’s very security uses are equally as thwart-able as the damage attempts done by scammers.
An interesting bit of news, to be sure, but we all know so long as there are scammers they will find ways to try to steal from the innocent who don’t know how their computers work. That’s why I urge everyone to listen to what your local Guru says, but also do your own research. Learn about Windows, about Malware, about web browsers and how computers and networks work. Learn what the trick of the trade for a scam are, and know, always, to not trust any cold call, or any random popup that looks like it’s trying way too hard to tell you to call some random number.