The Remote Desktop Scam

in computers •  10 months ago 

There comes a time in any techie’s life when they are called out to deal with a problem so catastrophic that it will change the lives of the people impacted by it.

I attended one yesterday.

One of my clients received a phone call the day before, purportedly from BT internet. The company secretary took the call and was horrified to hear that her computer was infected with malware that was choking BT’s network. The only way to get rid of this, according to the person on the other end of the phone, called David (with a distinctly foreign accent), was to install one of their programs which would allow them to eliminate the threat.

And so she did.

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Within half an hour, they had taken £7,000 from the business account. Fifteen minutes later, they went back for another £10,000, emptying even the overdraft. The secretary was in bits, she thought she'd just helped them put the company out of business. Were it not for the deep pockets of the owner, she would have been right.

Why am I telling you this?

These fraudsters are plausible, articulate and determined. They have an answer to every question, a website for verification of every query and a spoof email supposedly from them at BT itself to prove who they are. They are VERY good at what they do. I had one on the phone last year and even though I knew it was a scam from the start, it took me thirty minutes to get him to admit it. And even then he kept phoning me back and calling me a c**t.

Neither BT or Talk Talk or Microsoft are ever going to phone you and ask you to install software. If they have a network problem, you can be sure you are not the cause of it and even if you somehow managed to slow down their systems, they’d simply throttle your bandwidth until you squeaked.

Don’t fall for it.

I don’t want any of you to lose your life savings or your business or your pension.

Oh, just so you know – I cannot clean out a machine that is infected in this manner. The piece of software you install for them is a remote desktop, TeamViewer or AnyDesk or another one of dozens available out there. This gets them into your machine as if it was their own. From there, they can install whatever they like.

I cleaned the remote desktop software off the infected machine and discovered another three back doors and a shiny new install of Candy Crush Soda Saga before I held my hands up and told the client that there was no way I could guarantee I’d got them all. There could still be a keystroke logger or any number of nasties hiding in there.

I explained I would have to wipe his PC before I would allow it back on the network.

So, don’t fall for it.

You’ve been warned.

Pass it on.

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