A Spooky Tale of Real-Life Hackers
image source: pixabay.com

image source: pixabay.com

Happy Halloween, everyone! Today, I want to wrap up my month-long discussion on cyber security with a scary story about a cyber crime that happened in real life. Hopefully, it tunes you into the dangers of cyber thieves and helps you steer clear of their traps…

An acquaintance of mine received a call from Microsoft saying his computer was sending infected (with virus) files. Fearful that his computer was the source of the problem and infecting others, he agreed to work with the person on the line.

First, the agent told him to give her an email address so she could send him a link which would enable her to access his computer and see if his Windows program was being compromised. When he received the link, she asked him to click on it to grant her access to his computer so he wouldn’t need to do anything on his end. And he did.

Once she gained access to his computer, she looked around while he watched his mouse and Windows being remotely accessed and clicked on here and there. A few minutes later, the agent said his Windows program had a security breach and he needed to upgrade his version -- for a fee. She asked for his credit card information, and finally he started to get suspicious.

He checked the phone number which showed a New York area code. He realized he exposed himself (his information) and his computer to an unknown person, so he hung up the phone. He’s lucky he didn’t hand over his credit card information, but his computer needed to be cleaned up because who knows what she did or what malware she left behind.

This story is a prime example of social engineering where someone seemingly legitimate tries to hack your computer and steal your credit card information. They can be very deceiving.

If you ever notice your computer is running slowly, or your cursor is moving without you being in control, or if you receive any notices via email or by phone asking you to take action, DO NOT PANIC! The best remedy is to take your computer offline and consult with someone who can scan your computer to determine whether or not it’s infected. Don’t trust the person who calls you, hang up, and dial a trusted number.

We live in a very convenient and connected world, but the price we pay could be high because of it. Always be on high alert for cyber hackers and be prepared with a plan if you get targeted.