Malware – Really Getting Tired of This

malware, Online Issues

A month or so ago, I was using Safari on my Mac when a window popped up announcing that my computer was infected and that a reported phasing website was ahead!  Here is the screen I saw:

PhishPg

Note that I was instructed to call their Helpline to fix the problem. They also listed a website www.macconditionresult.com, presumably to go to for help. However, this is a bogus website, but I didn’t discover that until later.

I’m pretty much a trusting person, but not when it comes to computers and to messages like this. So I called them. I’m also a curious person. I would not suggest you do this. You are only talking with scammers whose job is to relieve you of your credit card number and waste your time. After all, they are the ones who put the browser hijacking software on your computer in the first place.

The man on the phone assured me that he was an Apple technician and that he could help me. When I asked how much it would cost, he told me that if they could remove the “browser hijacking software” quickly there would be no charge. Then they asked me to go to a website (don’t remember the URL) where we could proceed.

Once at that website, the “technician” then asked me to give over control of my computer. This is something you never, never, never do if you don’t know the person making the request. There are great tech support sites that will need control of your computer to provide their support – but those are people you know and it is safe. You should never comply with this request from someone you do not know.

At that point I told them, “I don’t even know you. Are you Apple?” His response was that they were Apple technicians who were just there to help me. I told them I would call my AppleCare number and talk with Apple directly and hung up the phone.

I then searched the term Reported Phishing Website Ahead! and found some great information that indicated that this warning of a Phish was itself a Phish. You can search using this phrase to see what I found. Here is a good site response to review from this search:  http://www.thesafemac.com/tech-support-scam-pop-ups/

Meanwhile, back at the problem….

I have heard from a few of my clients about experiencing this same phish and one of them made the mistake of calling the number, giving them control of their computer and finally giving them a credit card number for a $200 charge to fix and continue to monitor their computer. I advised her to immediately contact her bank and reverse the charge. The bank cooperated and – no surprise – the company didn’t dispute the reversal.

Other clients have contacted me in advance and we were able to avoid this problem. It’s so easy to get scammed by these people because they seem to know exactly what is happening (they should, they caused it) and how to fix it. One client chose to contact Apple directly through a chat window instead. Apple warns you that you may have to pay $29.95 for chat support but she felt it would be worth the charge. She continued and Apple advised her well. And there was no charge.

Now here’s another kicker: as I was preparing to write this article, I got hit again!!! Here is today’s window in case you see this one and not the first one pictured above:

Phish2

Easy enough for me to deal with since I have downloaded a great anti-malware program called MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (just click on the link). This program is free to download and use. You can purchase an upgrade that will automatically monitor your computer for malware or you can simply use the software on a regular basis free.  This software is available for both Mac and Windows, but since the people I have heard from have all been Mac users, I suspect that Macs are being targeted.  Here is what you are looking for:

malwareprg

Just download, install and run the program. If there are Adware programs that need to be deleted from your computer, the resulting report will advise you. If your computer is slowing down, that could be another sign that your computer contains adware that should be removed. Just use this program regularly to be safe.

Final comment: I wanted to call the “Apple Technician” back and simply ask, How can you sleep at night? But I had already wasted far too much time.

 

 

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