…Hanging on the Telephone, By David Harley, Urban Schrott and Jan Zeleznak…As if fake anti-virus products weren’t bad enough, nowadays we have unsolicited phone-calls from fake AV helpdesks. ESET researchers tell you more about support scams…
First of all, the guys at ESET North America have just added a paper to the ESET white papers page at http://www.eset.com/us/documentation/white-papers:
Hanging on the Telephone
By David Harley, Urban Schrott and Jan Zeleznak, February 2011
As if fake anti-virus products weren’t bad enough, nowadays we have unsolicited phone-calls from fake AV helpdesks. ESET researchers tell you more about support scams.
Of course, I've been talking about this sort of scam for a while, and so, more recently, have other AV companies in Europe and Australia, but this recaps some of the history and makes a few points about the legal issues that you might find useful. (Tip of the hat to Paul Laudanski for prodding me into adding that material.)
Secondly, though, something that's really annoying me right now is this.
I saw a reference somewhere very recently to support scammers expanding their range by cold calling with a fake "survey" to find out what sort of systems you own, presumably with the intention of ringing back in due course with enough information about what you use to convince you that they really can "see" your allegedly virus-infected system. But I had a minor systems problem on that machine, and the URL had gone when I got it back. Can I remember where I saw it? Can I heck!?!? (Can you remember where I might have seen it?)
Perhaps I need some IT support. But not probably from anyone in Kolkata. :) And I definitely need a memory upgrade.
(Just so you – and they – know, I'm not complaining about the hardworking IT team at ESET North America, who are very responsive when I have a connection problem with ESET's site or an issue with my ESET laptop or phone. But as an external consultant, I have to look after my own systems and network, in my copious free time…)
David Harley CITP FBCS CISSP
ESET Senior Research Fellow