Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Koobface Fun

Part of working on my top-secret site project I have mentioned  a time or two before involves compiling a database of sites.  It was while checking the viability of some sites I had links to yesterday afternoon, when up popped a notice that Mediacom Cable had detected some suspicious activity, with further instructions to call a toll-free phone number to receive help.

Since I am now somewhat seasoned to the “fun” that can be had while surfing the net, I did not panic, but I did become a little concerned when I found that I could not simply close the pop-up and leave the site.  My level of concern rose when I found that I could not even close my browser.

The next step would be to restart my computer, but before doing this, I read some more of the information provided on the pop-up.  It said to not restart the computer or risk doing great harm.

So, I called the toll-free phone number, and on the other end of the line was a man with a distinct Indian (dot—not feather) accent.  He identified himself as being a Windows 35 technician, who was there to help me with my problem.  I told him what the problem was, and he asked me to give him remote access to my computer, which I did.

He saw the pop-up message, and then started checking all sorts of things that I could see him doing on my screen.  Since my eyesight is still not all that good, I missed a lot, but he paused for me to see that my computer had been infected with the [Koobface] worm, which made my computer wide open for all sorts of no-goods to use in a network and steal my stuff.

Amazingly, I am still not in a panic.  Considering all of the “stuff” that has been hitting my proverbial fan lately, an infected computer would be just some more, I suppose.

The technician went on to show me a system errors log that had over 1,000 entries, and he said that there was a solution.  It involved taking my CPU to a repair center in St. Louis, and for a fee of $500, the worm would be removed and whatever was causing the system errors would be fixed.  I told the technician that we could not take our computer anywhere (let alone over 200 miles away) because of our very poor health, and then he told me that all could be fixed remotely for $259, and if I wanted a three-year warranty, it would be $459.

Okay, I was starting to get a little down by then, and I acknowledged that I recognized the fact that it was his job to sell me the service.  Nonetheless, I asked him if he could at least tell me if I could do a complete system wipe and Windows 10 reinstall.  He told me that this would not fix anything because Koobface was due to internet hacking and there was nothing wrong on my computer to remove.  He went to say that as soon as I fired up the computer again after the system reinstall, all of my problems would still be there.

Even though I was not about to okay anything until Arlynda told me I could, I let him transfer me to another company, who could remotely fix my problems.  Much to my confusion, the man answering the phone sounded exactly like the guy I had been talking to before.  Furthermore, the background noise on their end was exactly the same.  I secured a phone number to call him back, and hung up the phone.

Well, I have been kidding about practicing having "senior moments," and after this experience, I need to take them more seriously.  For it was not until later thinking about the conversation I had with the first technician that I realized he had already let the cat out of the bag (so to speak).  For if there was no infection on my computer, what were they going to fix?

Studying-up on the Koobface worm revealed that any good antivirus program protects against it.  I also found where there is a Koobface scam involving pop-up messages directing the unsuspecting to Indian call-centers trying to sell unneeded repairs. I also found some more interesting information on the [Windows 35] tech centers.

Yeah, go ahead and laugh at my gullibility, but I really can now say that I have experienced it all on the net.  That is, at least until the next source of “fun” comes along, of course.

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14 comments:

  1. Pretty sad that there are people who make their living off of scamming others

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Ann!!! Yeah, and they sound so sincere in their efforts to help.

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  2. Hmm-I'm trying to figure out whether you're joking, or whether you really did call that number. Anyroadup (as they say in some parts), thank you for all your pleasurable posts and for doing me the honour of popping across to my beloved blog as you do. Have a wonderful Christmas and a stunningly good new year!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Mike!!! Yep, I really did call that number. Pretty stupid, as I thought about it later. For if I had just looked-up the information on Koobface beforehand, I could have simply restarted my computer to break the connection.

      What is worse is that those Windows 35 call centers are the ones who will cold--call people to inform of having a problem with their computer. So, with me providing them with our home phone number, we can expect their calls to be a-comin'.

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  3. Never let anyone you do not see face-to-face touch your PC. Once you have met the technician then in the future you can feel somewhat safer in having him remotely access your PC. I would be sure to change all passwords and watch your private accounts very carefully, if you had this guy remotely accessing your PC!!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Tabor!!! I hear you, but I have had some experience with remote accessing before without any problems. Furthermore, that Malwarebytes engineer let them remotely access his computer while recording that video included on the piece on the Windows 35 centers. Nonetheless, it is still not a good idea to let a stranger on the phone rummage around in your computer, and I ran scans with both of my antivirus programs afterward to make sure of no surprises.

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  4. Ho Ho HO!
    These folk called my ansafone and a guy spoke to me for nine minutes before realising I was not interested (how could I be I said nothing not being there) and told me to F off!
    Not very nice but probably making a lot of money.
    Bangalore Bandits I suspect.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Adullamite!!! Like I told Mike, I have invited some more aggravation by giving those very some people our phone number. Sigh.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Martin!!! Well...

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  6. Hi Jerry
    I came across a message here saying my comment was published. I don't think I made one, although I tried on my phone.... :) anyhow I just want to say that I can understand how you could rightly get alarmed and phoned the number. I am glad you didn't pay. Then I thought that if you know someone locally who you trust with computers, it might not do any harm to ask him to take a look at your machine just to make sure this guy didn't put anything on it while he was dealing with it remotely. Hopefully all is well though. I feel you are now in line for some good times. Have a loving and peaceful Christmas.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Jenny!!! Be assured that I greatly appreciate the concern and well wishes. After watching the video on the Windows 35 centers and running scans by my antivirus programs, I am confident of not being anything wrong.

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  7. I Get calls all the time from people telling me something is wrong with my computer and they're offering to fix it. I just hang up on them.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Stephen!!! Yeah, we have had several of those calls before, and thanks to my stupidity, we can now expect several more.

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