Microsoft Warning on Phone Scam

Human gullibility is weak
There are several methods that are exploited by hackers; however, the primary method is the gullibility of humans. In a survey undertaken by Microsoft, it was found that individuals continue to remain the weakest link in the cyber security chain. The study is a part of the internet theft campaign that the Company is undertaken to understand more about phone phishing.

What is phishing?
Phishing is a method that hackers use to steal personal information of email users. The message encourages users to submit their personal information to a site that appears to be legitimate. Phone phishing is a similar technique that entails calling PC users to provide this information. In other words, phishing is a social engineering attack on the users who provide their vital personal information to scammers.

Method adopted for phishing
According to the survey, Microsoft found that criminals pose as software engineers and arrive at the homes’ of people under the disguise of warning these individuals against computer security threats. These disguisers then offer a free service to check the security of your computer. Moreover, such scammers pose as representatives of recognized companies, which seem more authentic. This method is similar to selling fake antivirus security software but is distinct in the personal appearance of these individuals to your doorstep.

Study found that this method did work
A study including 7000 individuals across U.S., UK, Ireland, and Canada, Microsoft found that more than fifteen percent of these individuals had indeed received such calls. Moreover, approximately twenty-two percent of these receivers (roughly three percent of the respondents) fell prey to these scammers. This is actually higher than the numbers shown by the direct mail frauds, which has roughly a response rate of two percent. Within the individuals who were cheated to provide remote access to their computers or encouraged to download malicious software, almost seventy-nine percent of these individuals incurred financial loss. More than seventeen percent has money withdrawn from their bank accounts, nineteen percent had their passwords affected, and seventeen percent had been affected by identity frauds. In addition, fifty-three percent of these individuals continued facing computer issues.

Microsoft advice
Although, almost two-thirds of these individuals were able to recover their lost money, the amount incurred to repair damages is as high as $4800 on an average. Therefore, Microsoft advices users to refrain from visiting web sites, install any software, or follow the guidance of any individual who arrives out of nowhere.