Don’t take it personally, but they really don’t want you to call. Who does want you to call are online scammers that are trying to gain access to your computer.
Over the past two weeks, a few of our clients have been duped into “doing the right thing” by responding to a notification they receive on their computers, stating that a “serious problem” has occurred and that they need to call into Microsoft for assistance.
The above image is what a Windows “blue screen of death,” or BSOD, looks like. When this happens, Windows is having a problem with a program, the computer, or maybe even itself. Now this image..
.. was captured from a Windows PC that visited a web site and opened up a web page that mocked a BSOD closely, except for one important distinction: this warning wants you to call for help.
Once an end user calls the number displayed on the fake error message, the person on the other end of the line will walk you through the process of allowing them access to your PC and performing one (or more) of the following nefarious acts:
- Install viruses in the hopes of getting the end-user to purchase either software or services to “clean” the PC
- Install a trojan that monitors and reports private information back to the bad guys
- Record user names and passwords in order to gain access to your other online services, such as email or online banking accounts
- Encrypt and hold your data hostage in the hopes that you will pay a ransom
If you find yourself face to face with this “error,” or anything similar that asks you to call a number for assistance, go through the following steps:
- Close all browser windows until the “error” goes away
- Reboot your PC
The above steps should remove the “error” from memory and allow you to continue using your system normally. If the “error” comes back on reboot, then you may have either already been infected or you may have a not-so-reputable program running that should be uninstalled and removed.
It is at this point where you can give US a call at 866-976-9136 for assistance in cleaning up your PC. We’re not Microsoft and we do want to talk to you!