If Microsoft calls, hang up!
Microsoft doesn’t call people. Well, that’s not totally accurate, I’m sure they call people they are doing business with, but they don’t call ordinary people and tell them they have viruses on their computer. Not ever. They never show them the error logs in adminstrative tools and then ask for a credit card to fix the errors. So if someone calls you and says they’re from Microsoft, do yourself and your IT company or tech a favour and hang up immediately. Do not allow the criminals access to your computer. If in doubt call us at Ducktoes
. We’ll tell you the caller is a fraudster, a criminal, a bad guy, someone after your money and nothing else. We’ll tell you to hang up.
One of my clients, who is also a friend and neighbour, fell for the fraud last week. He is such a nice and honest man, he assumes other people are honest too and was caught off guard momentarily. It is very understandable. He allowed the caller access into his computer. However, when asked for a credit card, my neighbour suspected something and hung up, yet the criminal had already put a password on the computer and disabled the keyboard and mouse. No one could log in. I took the computer into the shop and we hacked into it and removed the password but it was difficult and we almost couldn’t do it.
Here is the first part of this article written awhile ago.
Just remember Microsoft doesn’t call people, ever, to inform them their computer is malfunctioning. Never, ever, ever. So hang up.
Luckily we haven’t seen the encryption virus Crytolocker on a client computer in our Calgary repair shop yet. I hope we never do. This ransomware will encrypt your entire hard drive so you lose all your photos, data, and documents if you don’t pay the criminals the unencryption fee. I think the fee is $300.
Everyday we are still seeing the Cybercrime virus and Optimizer Pro and are expert in removing it. I think we could remove these two in our sleep. The Cybercrime virus is another ransomware that locks your computer until you send a gift card to the criminals. Really. The information on your locked computer says you are sending it to the RCMP or FBI or other law enforcement agency. Even if you pay your computer will stay “locked” until you bring it to a repair shop and get the virus removed. So don’t pay.
As far as the encryption virus goes, this is what you should do as a precaution: backup your drive and then disconnect your external backup from your computer so if you get the virus, the backup drive doesn’t get encrypted too. Then youcan transfer the data back to your computer if it gets encrypted. Problem solved. Also don’t open any attachments on emails especially if the emails are “phishy”, meaning if they purport to be from a reputable company but are not addressed to you but to a generic user. They might seem to be from a bank or shipping service such a Fed Ex or UPS. Do not open the attachment.
Click here if you’d like more information on the encryption virus and what you should do to prevent it.
Be aware there is a new virus called Cryptolocker that usually comes in through an executable attached to an email, usually about a parcel delivery. Do not open the attachment. It can come in other ways too, through a botnet if you’re already infected with another virus.
The virus will encrypt your files and unless you pay the $300 to the criminal virus creators.
Here is a video showing the virus in action by Sophos.
Here is an excellent article about the infection. Bleeping Computer (always my heros) does a have a partial solution.
An action to protect yourself: please make a backup or image of your computer now and then remove the external hard drive. Make sure you then detach the hard drive from your computer. Ducktoes can do this for you if you bring a computer in to our Calgary Computer Repair lab.
According to the LA Times, victims of the Winfixer, Drive Cleaner and Antivirus XP scam are entitled to a refund. See here. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/12/scam-watch-computer-virus-warning-ponzi-scheme-fake-bbb-email.html.
If you fall for any other anti-virus scams or have a Rogue Anti-virus or Rogue Anti-Spyware, we can help at our Calgary Virus Removal lab.