SMART Blog

Alert: Hackers Posing as IT Support and Hijacking Computers

b2ap3_thumbnail_technology_take_400.jpgOne minute you’re browsing trusted sites on the Internet, the next, your PC freezes up and displays the dreaded blue screen of death, along with a fake tech support message. The unsuspecting computer user calls the provided phone number, not realizing he or she has just fallen for a very expensive scam. So what are you to do if faced with this situation?

First, if you find yourself a victim of a hack attack such as this, whatever you do, DON’T CALL THE PROVIDED PHONE NUMBER! The blog Delete Malware explains what will happen if you do: “If you call [the number] they won't actually remove adware from your computer. They will hijack your computer and steal all your bank information and passwords.”

Currently, the origins of this malware are unknown, which makes it rather confounding because it’s been known to activate and display the blue screen of death while browsing popular websites like YouTube and Facebook. However, what the user sees isn’t the real Microsoft blue screen of death--which takes up the entire computer screen. Instead, this particular malware only affects the Internet browser, as indicated by the exposed browser tabs and URL form as seen in this screenshot.

ib blue screen

Thankfully, the threat isn’t as severe as the real blue screen of death. In most cases, you can move on from this annoyance via the Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Delete), or by rebooting your machine. Still, it’s an inconvenience for anyone when this happens, and can result in losing unsaved work or even downtime. Plus, rebooting your machine will not rid the virus from the system. Without proper removal, it will lie dormant and pop up randomly again.

Actually, the fake blue screen isn’t the biggest threat here. It’s the elaborate ruse to play on one’s fears and get them to call the provided phone number for "tech support." It's a way to allow the hackers to take control of the PC, giving them the chance to do far worse damage than wasting the few minutes it takes to reboot.

This is a classic social engineering scam in which users, overreacting to a perceived threat, are tricked into forking over their sensitive information. You’ve likely seen social engineering before with spam emails notifying you of a court date you missed or of a speeding ticket. With just a little review and a closer look spam messages like these are usually easy to identify, which makes them easy to ignore. What makes this recent scam different is that you can’t ignore it like other spam messages, especially when it locks up your browser.

Upon encountering malware such as this, you should immediately call SMART Services at (586) 258-0650. We’ve got the tools to analyze your system to determine the nature of the threat and properly remove it. Better yet, make sure your business uses SMART Services Email Protection. Our mail defense technology includes several layers of protection to block out viruses, phishing attempts, Denial of Service (DoS), Directory Harvest Attacks (DHA), and other email attacks. Think of it as a Firewall that applies specifically to your email.

Don't be taken in by the hackers; when your system needs help, call the real IT professionals at SMART Services (586) 258-0650. We'll put our 25 years of experience to work providing your business with proactive, fast, and expert technology services.

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Wednesday, November 20 2019
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