Computer Repair Firm Warns of PC Hacker Scam

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Computer Repair and Support Franchise PC PAL is warning people to be on their guard following a potentially serious incident with one of their customers last week.

Steve lane carries out computer repairs for PC PAL in Leicester, market Harborough and Kettering

Steve lane carries out computer repairs for PC PAL in Leicester, market Harborough and Kettering

This is the first time I had heard of this scam, but it's not the first time that this attack has been used on home computer users. It is the quickest way to circumvent all security controls and antivirus programs.

The customer concerned had been called the night before by a "Microsoft Engineer" with a heavy Indian accent. The "engineer" told her that she had a problem with her computer that they had detected and they were calling up to help her. She was a little sceptical but followed their instructions.

They directed her to the System Log in Event Viewer and asked her if there were any errors. Indeed there were errors in the system log (as there almost always are). She was then directed to the Teamviewer website and asked to "Join a Session". At this point she became suspicious when they asked her for the username and password that Teamviewer had just presented her.

Had she given this username and password the "engineer" on the other end would have had full remote control of her PC and could have done almost anything such as installing a virus, removing her anti-virus or stealing all of the information on the PC. Potentially they could have installed a small piece of software called a key logger and monitored everything she did on her PC such as online banking.

Luckily the customer refused to give the username and password stating that her "computer guy" was coming in the morning and she would ask him to look at it. The scammer then became threatening and abusive trying to intimidate her into allowing him access, resorting to profanity and eventually hanging up.

Steve Lane of PC PAL commented, 'Fortunately for our customer, she had already booked me for a computer repair call the next day, as she felt it better to have someone have a look at her computer in person.'

He added, 'This is the first time I had heard of this scam, but it is not the first time that this attack has been used on home computer users. It's clearly been going on for some time but that makes it no less effective. It is the quickest way to circumvent all security controls and antivirus programs.'

Staffordshire county council have even posted a warning on their website about this very scam.

So what can we learn from this? Firstly it does not matter if we have the best anti-virus or Internet Security software suite if we do not use some common sense. Anyone calling up out of the blue and asking to connect to your computer should be refused. Never give up sensitive personal information such as date of birth, mother's maiden name, national insurance number, passport number and so forth to someone over the telephone (or Internet) unless you are certain that you must give out that information, but never give it to someone who has cold-called you. Passwords should always be kept a secret.

Microsoft will only call you if you have logged a call with them. Microsoft do not have a habit of cold calling you. Visit the Microsoft Online Safety site to learn how to protect your family, protect you computer and protect yourself. Always call a professional for help if you are in any doubt about something you may have downloaded.

For PC help, local people can call Steve & Louise of PC PAL on the 7-Day Helpline 01536 86 86 68 to arrange a suitable time slot or visit: http://www.pcpal.co.uk.

Read about this and more on The PC PAL Blog.

For media enquiries and more information about PC PAL in the Corby and Kettering Area, or a photo opportunity, please contact Steve or Louise Lane on Tel: 01536 86 86 68 email: kettering(at)pcpal(dot)co(dot)uk

Notes to editors:

PC PAL is a national franchise organisation with local engineers based in areas throughout the UK. PC PAL's local engineers will come out to a home or business, at a time to suit. For more information about the Franchise Opportunity please call 0121 369 5000, email: JoinUs(at)pcpal(dot)co(dot)uk, or visit: http://www.pcpal.co.uk/franchise

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Julia Mann
PC PAL
0121 369 5000
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