NOW RAN­SOMWARE SCAMS TAR­GET YOU ON­LINE

Computer Active (UK) - - Front Page -

What’s the threat?

Scam­mers are ex­ploit­ing last month’s Wan­nacry ran­somware at­tack by us­ing fake warn­ings, web­sites and apps in or­der to con peo­ple.

The scams started to ap­pear within a few days of the cat­a­strophic hack that paral­ysed tens of thou­sands of com­put­ers world­wide, in­clud­ing many used by the NHS. Peo­ple have re­ported see­ing pop-up mes­sages as they browse the web warn­ing them that they have been in­fected by Wan­nacry. If you ring the tech-sup­port num­ber pro­vided in the mes­sage, the scam­mers ask you to grant them re­mote ac­cess to your com­puter, then ‘check’ whether you have enough pro­tec­tion on your PC.

Af­ter stat­ing con­fi­dently that you’re at risk, they charge you a hefty amount to in­stall the free tool Win­dows Ma­li­cious Soft­ware Re­moval. Ac­cord­ing to Ac­tion Fraud, the UK’S na­tional re­port­ing cen­tre for fraud and cy­ber­crime, one vic­tim was tricked into pay­ing £320.

Scam­mers have also set up bo­gus web­sites, such as http://se­cu­ritya­gainst wan­nacry.com, con­tain­ing fake sup­port phone num­bers, and sent emails pur­port­ing to be from BT and Vir­gin Me­dia prompt­ing cus­tomers to sign in to re­ceive se­cu­rity up­grades.

In ad­di­tion, An­droid users should be wary of apps that claim to of­fer pro­tec­tion from Wan­nacry. Dozens have been spot­ted in Google Play (see screen­shot), all show­ing ad­verts on your phone or tablet once in­stalled, mak­ing their de­vel­op­ers money. They’re all use­less be­cause Wan­nacry doesn’t tar­get An­droid de­vices.

What you should do?

Al­ways be scep­ti­cal of apps, pro­grams, emails and text mes­sages that of­fer sim­plis­tic so­lu­tions to se­cu­rity scares. Fraud­sters fol­low in hack­ers’ foot­steps by tak­ing ad­van­tage of the fear and un­cer­tainty that sur­round at­tacks, par­tic­u­larly those that make head­lines world­wide.

Im­por­tantly, re­mem­ber that any gen­uine er­ror mes­sages and warn­ings from Mi­crosoft won’t in­clude their phone num­ber and will never con­tact you to of­fer tech­ni­cal sup­port.

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