Windows Support? That sounds phishy…

Something that has become more popular over the past year nationally are hackers calling their targets on the phone instead of sending phishing emails.

Here is an example of what we have seen in Washington:

  • This attack starts with a call from someone claiming to be from “Windows Support”

This should be your first clue something is phishy (forgive the pun). Microsoft is the company that makes Windows so they should say “Microsoft Support” not “Windows Support”. Microsoft also won’t have your work or home phone number to call you.

  • The person then claims they have discovered your system is infected with a virus and you are infecting other systems as you browse the web.

This is another clue. There are millions of malware infected computers in the world using Microsoft Windows and Microsoft does not have the time or resources to call users.

  • The person then says that they can clean your computer if you go to a website (Example:

Another clue that this is untrustworthy is that Microsoft will not send you to a non-Microsoft site or third party company to get tools or instructions.

  •  Once you go to that site your system is either infected with malware or they get you to install a program allowing them to remotely control your system.

At this point the hackers have control of your computer and usually modify it so you can’t open any programs or access your data. They will then extort money from you with the promise they will unlock your system, which they won’t as they already have your money.

What should you do if you if you get this call? If it is on your work phone, hang up the phone and notify the CTS Service Desk (360-753-2454) immediately. If it is on your home or cell phone, hang up the phone. If you are concerned your system is infected with a virus, take your PC to a local computer repair store for them to review.