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Manual Scammers, Spammers & Social Engineers

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And then they cash in. The truth is no one will ever call you out of the blue to tell you that you need tech support on your computer. In some cases, these are just random cold calls hoping to find someone who has a computer; fewer people use desktop computers at home these days, making the targets less common. In other cases, scammers may target people who have shared information about a new computer on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms. These scams don't only occur through phone calls—they also flourish on the Web.

You may visit a website and see a dialog suggesting that your computer is infected with malware, and giving you a phone number to contact to get help. Often, these dialogs use the Windows XP interface, but sometimes you see Mac dialogs, like this one:. It's probably obvious that this is bogus, but the reality is there are plenty of people who fall for these scams. And some of these dialogs look more convincing, but no dialog on a Mac or PC will ever give you a phone number to call to resolve a problem. As with the cold calls, they hope to snag a small percentage of people, because they cast their nets very wide, displaying their messages to millions.

If one tenth of one percent of people fall for the scam, that's potentially a lot of money. If you're reading this, you probably already know about these social engineering scams. What's important is that you tell others—your friends and family, especially older, less tech-savvy people—about this, so they know that when the scammer calls, they should just hang up.

Yes, I got this scam. I had a problem printing a large pdf file on my HP printer, so I contacted HP online help, which has been an excellent service. Somewhere during my contacting HP, I was redirected to a site called geekworld.

5 Social Engineering Attacks to Watch Out For

They called me and did very much as you describe, getting onto my screen, showing me malware files, etc. They also did the same thing to my home computer. Really, both of my Mac Powerbooks work much better now.

I have not noticed anything with my identity being used, etc. Is this documented anywhere officially? Thank you very very much for this information.

Social engineering fraud

I worry too when I call HP. But I did get an email or call once that sounded like spam. I tried to report it to HP but am not sure they took me seriously. A recent scam sent phishing emails to users after they installed cracked APK files from Google Play Books that were pre-loaded with malware. These types of attacks commonly take the form of a scammer who pretends that they need certain bits of information from their target in order to confirm their identity.

More advanced attacks will also try to manipulate their targets into performing an action that enables them to exploit the structural weaknesses of an organization or company. Unlike phishing emails, which use fear and urgency to their advantage, pretexting attacks rely on building a false sense of trust with the victim. This requires the attacker to build a credible story that leaves little room for doubt on the part of their target.

2. Pretexting

Pretexting attacks are commonly used to gain both sensitive and non-sensitive information. Back in October, for instance, a group of scammers posed as representatives from modeling agencies and escort services , invented fake background stories and interview questions in order to have women, including teenage girls, send them nude pictures of themselves.

Baiting is in many ways similar to phishing attacks. However, what distinguishes them from other types of social engineering is the promise of an item or good that hackers use to entice victims. Baiters may offer users free music or movie downloads, if they surrender their login credentials to a certain site.

Phishing, social engineering and online scams | NetSafe Security Central

Baiting attacks are not restricted to online schemes, either. Attackers can also focus on exploiting human curiosity via the use of physical media.


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Similarly, quid pro quo attacks promise a benefit in exchange for information. This benefit usually assumes the form of a service, whereas baiting frequently takes the form of a good. One of the most common types of quid pro quo attacks involve fraudsters who impersonate IT service people and who spam call as many direct numbers that belong to a company as they can find. These attackers offer IT assistance to each and every one of their victims.

It is important to note, however, that attackers can use much less sophisticated quid pro quo offers than IT fixes.