Ask Leo: Risks of Allowing Remote Access to Your PC

risks of allowing remote pc access

Risks of Allowing Remote Access to Your PC

By Leo Notenboom

About a year ago, I took out a lifetime subscription to SUPERAntiSpyware and I have used it without any problems until the last ten days or so. Now, I find that I am unable to activate the scan feature; I click on it just I have done for the past year, but nothing happens. I called the phone number listed on my receipt, but there was no answer and I wonder if you know whether or not they have gone out of business.

I am not particularly worried about this as there are other applications that I can download. However I thought I would let you know what happened when I went to their website.

I called a number that I thought was the support center and was immediately connected with a technician who skillfully asked my permission to allow him access to my computer so that he could diagnose the problem and I agreed. After he informed me that I had over a thousand errors that needed to be erased and that he could do this for me for only $250.00 I realized that this was some kind of scam and I promptly ended the call. What kind of risk have I exposed myself to?

I have windows Vista and my computer is about six years old. Thank you for all you do and keep the answers coming.

First, good on you for terminating that call. While it may have obviously been a scam to you and me, I’m sure that many people are falling for it.

To the best of my knowledge, SUPERAntiSpyware is alive and well. However, the approach you took to contact them is worth reviewing. Sometimes, finding appropriate contact information can be confusing and in some situations, it can lead to questionable territory, as you’ve seen.

But the big question is … you let a stranger with clearly malicious intent use your machine remotely. Just how worried do you now need to be?

The bad news is that there’s no clear answer.

SUPERAntiSpyware

I’ve never used SUPERAntiSpyware, but I’ve heard it mentioned from time to time and it appears to have a good reputation.

The website – http://www.superantispyware.com/ – is most certainly up. Their blog is woefully out of date, but I do see current posts by “SAS Customer Service” in their support forum, which I take as a good sign of life.

But that leads us to the approach best taken to find support.

“First, understand that telephone support is rare, even for many paid products. ”
Finding support

You started with the phone number on your receipt. That’s typically not what I would start with for a couple of reasons.

A phone number on a purchase receipt is typically completely unrelated to product support. More often, it’s a number specifically about billing questions or questions relating to the actual process of purchasing the product, not using it.
It’s extremely common that the actual sale of the product is handled by a completely different company than the company that manufactures it. This is particularly true of software downloads. The phone number listed may not even be for the company that you really want to talk to. And of course, if the payment processor changes or goes out of business, old phone numbers can sometimes lead to new and less than appropriate places.

My approach to finding support comes at it from a completely different angle.

Read the rest of the story here..

This post is excerpted with permission from Leo Notenboom.

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3 thoughts on “Ask Leo: Risks of Allowing Remote Access to Your PC

  1. You can avoid all the risks associated with remote access by using tools like on premise R-HUB remote access servers. It works from behind the firewall, hence better security.

  2. While Googling to find a solution to a problem with Outlook I chanced upon a free download which purported to be specifically aimed at my error number. I did the download, the program carried out a scan revealing 167 problems to be fixed. I clicked “Fix Now” and off it went…….but then stopped and advised me that, in order to have all the problems fixed , I had to buy the product (about £33). Anxious to resolve the issues I paid the £33 and then found that I had to telephone them in order to have it activated. I made the call and found myself talking to a chap in America, Jason. He was happy to activate the product and asked if I was having any other problems with my computer. I told him that, although a fairly new machine, it had become quite slow. Jason could help me with that and I ALLOWED HIM TO GAIN REMOTE ACCESS TO MY COMPUTER. He then bamboozled me with pages and pages of dire warnings that my computer had supposedly received…over 5500 of them. Jason went on to offer to carry out the “necessary” repairs remotely for a fee of $200-$250 which would include 12 months support. I declined his offer and now wish that I had not allowed him to have remote control of my computer, my main concern being the security of my on-line banking. Jason said that his company was LogMeIn and it may well be completely genuine but I just don’t know what risk I have exposed myself to. I am afraid that this act of foolishness by me has severely damaged my confidence and I am going to close my on-line banking facility which is a great pity. Any comments…apart from the obvious. The manner in which I was duped is quite cunning. 1) I Google for a solution to an Outlook problem.2)Google directs me to a “free” download which turns out not to be free. 3)Anxious for a solution I pay up because the Company claims to be a Microsoft Partner and appears legitimate. 4) I have to call America for activation of the product and then allow myself to be talked into allowing a total stranger to have remote access to my computer. 5) I am now worried sick about my on-line bank account. How I wish I had gone for a bike ride instead!

  3. I used SUPERAntiSpyware. back in 2005 on a old pc. same to get the job done. now all I get I false posties. so I discontinue using in 2009. cause of it crashing windows on my pc?

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