Public Service Announcement – Hacker tried to access my computer files
As a home-based business, I have to be just as diligent as a company that has office space. Read my story and share it with those who might be caught unaware.
Last Friday both of my phone lines to the house rang at the exact same time. That in itself was odd, but what was even more odd was that there was a foreign voice at the other end telling me that someone had installed some malicious files. I said thanks, I will have my IT person look into it and hung up.
Not being satisfied with that, the would-be hacker called back on Tuesday. This time I was prepared as I had already had a conversation about the potential threat with Trish from TG Consultants.
Again, both phones rang at the same time with the same number showing up with “Name Unavailable” showing on my caller ID. We have the Xfinity Triple Play with an extra phone line. I picked up one line, Rick picked up the other. This time I was a bit better prepared to “play”.
The guy on the phone said his name was “Michael” from Windows Technical Department. He had a thick accent and I had to have him repeat himself several times just to understand what he was saying. He asked if I was in front of my computer and was it on. He was going to tell me the steps to eliminate the infected files that had been downloaded without my knowledge.
I wanted “Michael” to tell me the steps, I would write them down and then have my IT person help me with the repair to my computer. I think I spooked him. He transferred me to the Sr. Technical guy named “Jake”. Again another thick foreign accent. He said I had malware and malicious files on my computer because I had been hacked by someone in Los Angeles CA. He started to try to tell me my computer ID number – I only had four on at the time… He got through the first four numbers and couldn’t tell me the rest.
I asked both guys to give me the directions, I would write them down and then have my IT person help me with them. They both said that only they could help me.
I finally had played cat and mouse with the guy long enough and said I don’t believe you are telling me the truth, and I hung up.
Today the same phone number dialed back. I was on my way to a meeting so I asked for a call back number which traced to a city in California – and the plot thickens! I wonder who might have installed the malware????
I scanned each computer with the anti-virus software that is on each device. I used a Malware detection software to eliminate a threat. AND I called the Sheriff’s Department and filed a report. Passwords have been changed. I think I feel confident that no files were lost or held for ransom!
Here are the lessons –
- Windows, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Adobe, or any other big name company is not going to call you!
- Don’t answer “Name Unavailable” numbers from area codes that you don’t recognize or at all. They can go to voicemail if they want to talk with me.
- Make sure your anti-virus is current. Sometimes it can update more than once a day.
- Find a good malware screening program -Trish suggested malwarebytes.org
- Back up your data with an automatic back-up service. There are several – like Crashplan, Carbonite and other reputable ones. Check with an IT professional like TG Consultants or FutureLink or Bryant Crawford from FastTeks for a good recommendation.
- Change your passwords regularly and don’t use the same password for everything!
Please share this information with your friends and family so that they are not caught unaware and allow someone to enter their computer.