TECK TALK: Links with Lies

Published: October 29, 2012

In recent months, it seems there have been just as many good tweets as fake ones being sent out to hack accounts.  The ones that contain phrases like “have you heard the rumours about you?” or “Have you seen this video someone posted of you?”

Now unless you are Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan and looking for such publicity or work for Prince Harry keeping tabs on photo leaks such as this, do not open any links that come with such messages.

Pressing that link means your Twitter account will most likely be hijacked and suddenly turned into  a spam-spewing tweet factory.  Then comes the fun part – annoying all of your Twitter followers with similiar personal messages.  In one case, a local tweeter’s account got hacked right after her wedding.  There were about 10 such DMs sent from her account to her followers.  The longer it takes for a hacked account owner to deal with it, the longer the factory keeps sending out spam!

2012 has also seen a couple of Microsoft-related scams.  Earlier this year, we heard about the scam originating from an overseas company that called homes in Canada pretending to be representatives of Microsoft.  Innocent consumers were urgently directed to go to their computers to do an update or a critical check as their computer was sending messages back to Microsoft of being hacked.  Waves of computer crashing soon followed, with this nasty scam going on for nine months and continuing in some cases.

Even those in the “techy” business fell for the scam that targeted personal information, passwords and evening sensitive banking details.  The story made consumer headlines all over the world, including here in Vancouver. (Yup I was a victim.)

After months of making the rounds, the phone call scam got old as more people caught on and the media picked up the story.  What does that mean? Time to revise, rinse and repeat the scam!  This one came in the form of a very “real” looking email.  DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS if you get an email that looks like the one below or any messages via your social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.  Here are a couple of components from what that email looks like:

There are couple of instant giveaways but they may only be obvious to the trained eye of a computer technician or programmer.  First off, Microsoft does NOT call you at home or send you such emails.  That is the first rule to always remember.

The second thing is that the link ends in “exe” – which basically means it will run an application on your computer and that is bad news for computer owners.
Kuljeet Kaila is a local media personality who writes  for Vancouver Desi.

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