Comp-U-News from Comp-U-Talk
November  2013

"Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment." - Fred Brooks




 This has been a fun week. Neal and I got to play along with a phishing scheme. We had a lot of fun pretending to not be able to follow directions. The caller finally figured out she wasn't going to get anywhere with us and hung up. We "high-fived" and declared we had a great topic for the coming newsletter.

So here's the deal: If you haven't received this phone call yet, you need to expect it. It is freaking out a lot of people. If you live with kids, you need to teach them that sometimes it is ok to hang up on someone.

Here is what happens: The phone rings. Caller ID displays private. You answer, expecting to talk to your mother. It's not mom. It's a foreigner. (Clue #1: They called you and you can only understand 50% of what they say.) They introduce themselves as "Windows". (Clue #2: Windows is product, not a company.) If you listen closely, you will hear a lot of people in the background. This is definitely a boiler room. (Clue number 3: Microsoft does not operate from "boiler rooms".) The caller claims your computer is reporting errors. They are going to help you "clean it up". Remember, they are foreigners. They haven't mastered the English language. What they really meant to say is: "We are going to clean you out!" They want to prove you have errors. They lead you to event viewer.

Event Viewer records what happens when the computer shuts down, what happens when it starts up, what happens when a program freezes and all sorts of other miscellaneous information. Most of it is benign. Occasionally it offers real clues to real problems.

You can find event viewer on the Control Panel. In Windows 7 you might need to switch the view from category to large icons, then choose Administrative Tools. From there look for Event Viewer. In Windows 7 you will need to expand the Windows Logs in the left panel. In XP you will see the logs immediately. They fall into three categories: Information (blue), Warning (yellow), Error (red). This is normal. If there are lots of errors, you should jot down the error messages and the dates of the errors and call me. DO NOT let the foreigner help you.

The caller will take remote control of your system. We have reports of the foreigner spending up to 12 hours on a single computer. We are not certain what they do because we did not allow them on our computer, but you can be certain it isn't anything to help you. We suspect they are stealing CD keys, implanting Trojans, looking for bank account numbers and passwords. If you have mistakenly given remote control, we suggest you alert your bank and run thorough virus and malware scans. If you haven't received the call yet, we give you permission to play the "I'm stupid and hard of hearing" trick - but don't turn the computer on for them!

Stay Safe,