Technical Support Scams Target Victims via Spam Emails

Technical Support Scams Target Victims via Spam Emails

The Dreaded BSOD

Many users are familiar in seeing the dreaded Bluescreen of Death, or BSOD, when their computer decides to go haywire. These errors can be triggered for multiple reasons, such has hardware problems, driver conflicts, or memory issues. In order to resolve the problem, it often times takes a bit of work to diagnose the issue, as rebooting the computer won’t always solve the problem.

The BSOD is a screen that none of us like to see, and often cause our hearts to sink, as we tend to think the problem is very serious. This is why tech support scammers are using this tactic to trick victims into calling for help.

Fake Browser Bluescreens of Death

Recently, our CEO, Rob Cheng, received a very odd email which asked him to click on a link. Of course, being the technically savvy CEO that he is, he didn’t click on it, but had our research department look into what the link was doing.

The research team discovered that clicking on the link would redirect you to different pages, depending on which browser you are using.

When using either Firefox or Chrome, the URL took you to a page that tried to push “alternative medications”, called Geniux, which supposedly helps boost brain activity.

However, using Internet Explorer, the URL takes you to a fake bluescreen of death, and even plays an audible warning telling you that your computer is infected with malware.

In addition to the fake bluescreen of death, Internet Explorer users are blocked from exiting the page, because of a dialog popup. This popup cannot be closed, unless you forcefully exit the browser with Task Manager, or another process explorer tool.

blue screen 3

We believe the reason they display the fake bluescreen of death only on Internet Explorer, is due to the way Chrome and Firefox handle persistent popups. In Chrome and Firefox, the user can block the webpage from creating additional dialogs/popups.

 blue screen 4

Apple Care

If the browser is running on a Mac or an iPhone, the website will change to alert the user to contact Apple Care, instead of Windows Support. The miscreants do this to ensure they cover as much grounds as possible, and trick the victim into calling for support. In the victim’s mind, they may be thinking that this alert is actually legitimate, since it knows that they are running a Mac computer, and not Windows. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this blog, the URL, shown below, was not available.

blue screen 5

Copy-cat Scammers

As the fake tech support scam websites are reported to the hosting companies and Domain Name Registrars for abuse, tech support scammers are making sure they spread the webpages, by cloning the website and uploading it to a new domain name.

blue screen 6

In the screenshot above, we can see that the miscreants used a tool called HTTrack Website Copier, to mirror a copy of an existing fake tech support scam from “system-checker-51.nl”.  However, if you go to this site today, we can see that it has since been taken down.

Prevention

In the event you find yourself in a situation where a fake bluescreen of death is on your computer, do not call the number. Instead, simply close out of the browser or restart the computer, and the alert will go away. Be careful about which links you click on. If you don’t expect the sender to send you a link in an email, don’t click on it. Delete the email, and ask the sender (if they are known to you) in a separate email if they truly intended on sending you the link. Also note that Microsoft nor Apple will ever display an alert to call them for technical support. They will never cold call you either; we have seen this tactic used in the past, too.

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2 thoughts on “Technical Support Scams Target Victims via Spam Emails

  1. I just received this ‘warning’
    pc-failure-318j5hz.club says:
    **ZEUS VIRUS DETECTED – YOUR COMPUTER HAS BEEN BLOCKED**
    Error: Virus – Trojan Backdoor Hijack #365838d7f8a4fa5
    IP 68.10.169.244 Browser:Chrome ISP: Cox Communications Inc.
    Please call computer system technician immediately on 855-622-8558
    Please do not ignore this safety alert. Your Microsoft System Has Been Compromised. If you close this page fefore calling us, your computer access will be disabled to prevent further damage and your data from being stolen.

    • E S, this is just a scam pop up coming from your browser and nothing is actually wrong with your computer. Just close the browser or reboot your computer if you can’t close the browser and it will go away. They are just trying to trick you into calling and paying for fake technical support.

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