NOW RANSOMWARE SCAMS TARGET YOU ONLINE
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.