Friday, 8 March 2013

Scam Calls: Innovation In Hacking Techniques

It has become common knowledge that scammers try to penetrate into the computers and cell phones through cell phone tracking apps and PC tracking malware. These malicious contents play havoc with the system upon entering the device. However, now these hackers have devised another useful way of penetrating into your machine and destroying your privacy – Phone scams.

How to identify a Phone Scam?
The purpose of the phone scam is to extract your personal details by making a fake call that makes your private data accessible to the hackers. Glaring example is of last year’s Microsoft phone scam call, when people called to inform them that their computers had been infected with rogue software. The caller tries to gain trust of the victim by establishing the call from Microsoft, asking some personal data and the user falls prey to the scam and their security and privacy crumbles down like a deck of cards. The scam caller requests to install remote access code, which in turn helps the hacking group, get complete access to the computers and other devices.

More cases of Scam Calls Reported
The trend of scam calls is rising in English speaking countries, particularly America and the United Kingdom. The hackers follow a similar process every time they call the new victim – establish the call from Microsoft, request remote access, install malware under the cloak of updated version of software, run a fake scan and get successful in obtaining their credit card numbers. A survey conducted by the Trustworthy Computing Team revealed, out of 7000 people surveyed, 1000 reported these spam calls – 234 people out of one thousand, fell for the scam, while 184 of the 234 actually lost money, around $800.

How to Avoid the Scam
The first thing to keep in mind is that Microsoft does not call its users and charge them for fixing or updating software. So, this is a clear distinction that you need to be aware of. Here’s how you can counter these spam calls:
-          Never hand over the remote access of your computer to an unknown, third party. Only when you are certain about the credibility of other person, you’re giving the control to a legitimate member of the support team. Ideal way would be to give them a call back to establish the authenticity of the employee.
-          This is one rule we learnt as kids – never give your talk to strangers or give any personal information – also applying to your credit card number and financial information.
-          Always establish the authenticity of the call, which demands paying a fee or needs subscription. Don’t take any risks, if you have any doubts.
-          If you are victim of such calls, then the most pragmatic approach would have been to note down the information of the caller and report it to local authorities, so that the hackers can be traced and arrested. Make sure you cover all your bases with regards to warding off the phony calls.

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