Malware and Phone Scams

Malware and Phone Scams

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This paper is intended for either the workplace or the home user. This can be used for educational purposes to help users understand the dangers of downloading different malware and the causes it can have on your work/home computer.
There are many different types of malware on the internet right now and some are worse than others. Some can do very little damage to your computer and others can stop you in your tracks and render your computer useless. I’m going to discuss some of the different types of malware and what they do to your computer and how they work. After that I'm going to talk about how you counteract these issues and also what you can do to prevent these issues from happening in the future. Lastly i'm going to talk about a few personal experiences that I have had and what I have done to resolve the situation.

This paper will also cover one phone scam that is going around right now. There are multiple reasons why I am covering this phone scam. One, its one going around right now and the perpetrators are targeting the non technologically savvy and the elderly. The second reason to cover this phone scam is to show what the perpetrators do if you don’t pay their fees.

The first one that I'm going to talk about is spyware. Spyware is a program that is installed on a person’s computer without their knowledge. What it does is collect information about the individual such as passwords, banking information, and keystrokes. There is another one called a keylogger that also collects keystrokes. Normally a person would get spyware on their computer when they download a program from the internet. Suppose you download AVG free anti-virus during the installation of this program, which is free and a very good anti-virus, it will ask you if you want to accept the terms and conditions and you click next. After that it will go through a series of steps and during the installation it will ask for a custom or basic installation. At this point at the bottom of the installation box you would see another checkbox that is checked. This box is from a third party website and could have a form of spyware associated with it.

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This is an add on program which could be any type of advertisement usually from third party vendors. A good rule of thumb is if you're not sure what the program does or is, is to google it and read up about it. I typically never install these add ons for the very reason that if I don't know what they are then I probably don't need them. I typically read about a program before I download it so I know what I am getting into.
If you notice something different about the way your computer runs whether it is slower or other issues such as pop ups or it redirects you to a different web page, chances are you have some type of spyware on your computer. The easiest way to remove this is to go into your control panel, go to add/remove programs and see if you can see it here. If you see it click on it and then click remove. Normally this is the best and easiest way to remove the program. The problem comes if the program isn't there or if it is but you dont delete all of it. You can still have hidden files somewhere on your computer after deleting it from add/remove programs. This makes life a lot harder and really goes into a lot more depth then this paper. Always remember to check out a program before you download it or buy it.
Worms are the next malicious software and what they do is infect your computer and can do a number of different things such as create backdoor vulnerabilities (holes in security so hackers can login without you knowing) so the creator can use them later. They also can damage your computer by deleting system files until a drive has been wiped clean. They can extort information about the user and his computer. The biggest thing they do is infect your email program and this is also how they move and replicate. They attack your email contacts and then they send out an email to everyone in your contacts with an attachment like “check out this cool picture” in the subject line. When you open this attachment it loads the worm onto your computer and then it goes to work sometimes without you even knowing that its there. It also does the same thing on your computer that it did on the friends computer it attacks your email contacts.
If you notice that your computer is doing some funny things that it has never done before you might have a worm in your system. Again these can be quite bad as they can shut your system done with major problems if they infect your system files (automatic files). A good rule to keep your computer safe from these threats is to keep your anti virus definitions up to date. Most antivirus programs update their definitions everyday or every other day. This should keep you pretty safe, although if you run a firewall this will help also. Most home routers have built in firewalls, and when you use them they run in the background so most people don't even realize they have them running.
Ransomware is next and what ransomware does is when you're browsing the internet it will show a webpage that can be from local law enforcement to the FBI. This webpage that comes up will say something to the effect that it has detected that you have been engaging in some activity of illegal use on the internet. This can range from pornography sites to downloading multimedia, pictures, movies, and games. This webpage displays that you have to pay a certain amount of money to restore your system. What it does is lock your computer and until you pay the fine (fee) it wont let you change web pages or open or close other programs. This is a fake webpage or scam. Some ways to prevent this is not to do anything illegal on the internet, keep your antivirus up to date. Another is a program I currently use and is free from microsoft, its called malware removal tool and what it does is scan your computer for malware files. When it finds these malware files it deletes everything about them on your computer. When it does this it deletes all traces of the ransomware or malware that you have.
The next one is the browser hijacker. This one I have also had personal experience with. V3 is the name of the one that I have had and it was a big problem for sure. What this one does is when you go to it will look a lot like the webpage but if you look closely you will notice certain differences from this page and the webpage. What it does is always point you towards their ads or products when you try to search for something. These are also installed on a persons computer the same way that spyware is. When you download a program these hijacker programs could be associated with it. When you install the program if you don't take the check out from the checkbox then you also will install that program. Most times you can also notice that you have these programs if you start to see extra toolbars right below your URL bar. Usually you can go right to the control panel and delete them through the add/remove program. Other ways can be quite in depth also from trying to find the program in your windows explorer. If you do it this way I would try running a system scan with microsoft malware removal tool to make sure you got it all out from the system. The next thing is to update your definitions with your antivirus to help prevent this in the future.
The last malware that I would like to talk about is actually a phone scam. The scam works like this and some of you might have gone through this before. The phone scammer calls and says they are calling from Microsoft tech support and that they have noticed that you have error codes on your computer and these error codes are viruses. The scammer will take you into the event viewer, this is where say if you log on to your computer and put the wrong password in, it would create a log files with an error message. So the scammer tells you that these are all viruses and malware on your computer and that you should take care of these as soon as possible to keep your computer running smoothly. Next they walk you through downloading a program called Teamviewer. This program works like remote desktop which allows the user to allow another user in a different location to control his computer. Once this program is downloaded they ask you for the username and passcode this program applies to your computer. When the scammer gets this information they now have control over your computer. Next they escort you to a site where they can take a payment from you. This payment they tell you is to remove the so called viruses on your computer and also a lifetime protection from viruses and malware. Next if you put the wrong credit cards numbers in and it doesn't get processed they tend to get mad and since they have control over your computer they can do what they want. What they do is keep you on the phone and be nice to you while they go through your computer and delete system files and device drivers for your network interface card. After they delete these they can get mad and say mean things to you and then they hang up. I have posted this link to give the average user an idea about this scam.
A few ways to prevent this from happening to you, Microsoft would never call you out of the blue like this and let you know you have viruses on your computer. If you can recognize this is a scam right off from either the way the person talks, accent to what he is says about the error codes. Also, a lot of professional people use Teamviewer for work and pleasure and its a good program. The last way is most of these scammers target Windows Operating Systems and that is because Microsoft's operating systems are the most commonly used operating systems globally. If you tell them that you are running a type of Linux operating systems most likely they won't bother, but always be on the lookout and don't let your guard down. The people they are really targeting is the older generation that did not grow with all this technology and are not tech savvy.
Most of these malware instances can be taking care very easily and won't bother you or your computer just by running a firewall, which most people do, and an antivirus. Some of the other tools is the Malware Removal Tool from Microsoft. Microsoft also has a security scanner that's free that I like to run after the removal tool. Remember when downloading programs from third party sites that you look for that check box so you know what you are downloading. If these don't work for removing the malware the next best thing is to do is if you have a backup restore point you can try loading that restore point to before you got the virus. If you load the restore point and you still have the malware then you can do a clean install. This is wiping your computer hard drive and reinstalling the operating systems. Lastly remember the old adage that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Works Cited

Vincent Genest
Annotated Bibliography

Andrews, James. A+ Guide to Managing and Maintaining Your PC 8th Edition. Course Technology / Cengage Learning, 2010.
Andrews book on managing and maintaining your computer talks about how you can can lock down your computer while on the internet which doesn’t allow hackers to gain access to your computer. This book goes into great detail about settings such as firewalls, passwords, settings for the router or switch, and then how to maintain them and watch traffic that is sent and received over the medium (wire).
Hughes, Allen. "" n.d. Chron.
I found this a good website as it talks about why hackers try to get into your system. This site also talks about the different things that you can do to help prevent attacks such as intrusion detection and prevention, computer use policy, security testing, and employee training.
Dean, Tamera. Network+ Guide to Networks 6th Edition. Course Technology/Cengage learning, 2010.
Deans book talks about tools that you can use for hacking and testing your system the same way a hacker would. It talks about packet sniffing tools like wireshark, Armitage which is used for penetration testing also know as pen testing, and HashCat with is used to test how strong passwords are. Also it talks about social engineering which really came mainstream with Kevin Mitnick in the 1990s.
"Microsoft Security Intelligence Report." 28 April 2013.!10year_malware.
This is one of the best websites I have found lately and it goes into great detail from everything about security to setting up different settings to prevent intruders from gaining access to your systems to walking you through the setup process of each security measure. This site also talks about the different malware attack risk measurements and counter measurements, keyloggers, and port scanning and ping sweeps.

Nilkaew, jeffery S. Beasley& Piyasat. networking Essentials 3rd Edition. Indianapolis : Pearson Education Inc., 2012.
This book is a lot like Tamera Dean’s book Network+ Guide to Networks which talks about everything networking. It starts with setting up the defense of your home system to small businesses to large corporation. It goes into great detail with security and settings to prevent attacks.

Coustan, Dave. n.d.
This website goes into some pretty good depth as far as how malware is loaded onto your computer and different things that it can do once its on your computer. This websites also talks about how to avoid getting the malware in the first place. Things like spyware scanners, pop-up blockers and disabling ActiveX. Then it goes on to talk about the legal issues associated with it.
Geoff McDonald, Gavin O’Gorman. "Ransomware:A Growing Menace." Symantic Corporation n.d. PDF file.
This is a really good book as it talks about everything for ransomware from the background to the actual malware and how it works to what they are trying to achieve from this form. Then it talks about stratergies to combat ransomware and then finally recovery.
Jenkins, Edward R. 2014.
I used this website not so much for the content of information on different malware issues, but because I felt it gave the average user a good indication of how many different forms of malware are out there. Now this website only touched a few of them I believe that they are some of the most important one and also ones that have and will be around for a long time even with different anti-viruses and anti-malware being updated all the time.
Services, Indiana University University Information Technology. 17 Feb 2014.
This website I liked also as it gave definitions about some of the malware that is currently out. It also gives some great info into different things like computer security and virus protection.
Solon, Olivia. 11 April 2013.
This site is really really good for a couple of different reason the first being that is gives the user a good idea about the the scammer is trying to do and what will happen if they believe what they say. The second reason I like this website is because it the user a video about an actual phone call of the scam in action. The video is a little long at twenty six minutes but usually the people that are taping these calls are in the computer field and know what they are doing and also they are trying to waste the scammers time because they can. Im also going to add another link to another video that I got a good laugh watching also about the phone scam.

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