Posted by: David Harley | February 7, 2011

More Support Scams

Graham Cluley has blogged about a 93-year-old woman in Australia who was scammed by one of the usual suspects claiming to be Microsoft, telling her that she had a virus and offering “help”. I certainly don’t blame Graham for having a little fun with this story: unless you’re a connoisseur of 419s, you don’t often come across a hook as bizarre as this:

Mrs Hamblin was told recent heavy rain and storms had caused more computer viruses to circulate.

Nevertheless, there’s something more than usually unpleasant about scams and malware when they target the elderly and other vulnerable people. Well, maybe I think that because I’m getting a bit too close to senior myself, but people who take particular advantage of the vulnerable, whether it’s hustlers, muggers, or salesmen, make me furious.

Which, I guess, is why I’m never going to mount a successful sting operation. I was phoned (again) by one of these guys last week, and strung him along a bit to see what his angle was, but when it turned out to be the usual misuse of Event Viewer to demonstrate the effects of the “virus”, I’m afraid I lost it and gave him a piece of my mind. I guess I’ll have to leave the scammer-baiting to cooler heads like my good friend Craig Johnston.

David Harley CITP FBCS CISSP
Small Blue-Green World
ESET Senior Research Fellow

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