Friday, November 7, 2014

You can become a victim of social engineering, too.

Today something extraordinary happened to my friend. But "extraordinary" in the negative sense of this meaning. He would be glad if he could undo it.

He got a call from Microsoft. At least, the guy on the other side of the line said, he came from Microsoft. That guy babbled something about that my friend's computer got hacked and is sending malicious requests all over the internet. It sounded dramatic. Like being a criminal. So that guy asked my friend to type in some commandos into Window's command prompt, which my friend kindly did. I don't know which command that was, but it listed all sorts of warnings and errors. I presume, it was some command line clone of windows event viewer. So that guy asked, if my friend was able to see all those errors and warnings. My friend confirmed. Then he asked to type "inf hidden trojan" into the command prompt, explaining, that this command would list all hidden Trojans, which were present on the system. So my friend got a list of .pnf  files listed in that small black box. Then that guy asked my friend, if he could open them. He could not. Next, that so-called Microsoft employee said: "This is a sure sign, that those are viruses."

This is where the real evil begins:
He tricked my friend to install a remote control on his computer, allowing him to fully control his friends computer, explaining that he just wanted to get rid of those viruses on my friends computer. Her explained, that Microsoft was absolutely interested in having clean computers, so that they would offer him a brand new feature: For just 15 EUR per year, my friend would become virus free, supported by Microsoft. My friend thought: Hey, that bad of a deal. And accepted.

So that guy wanted the informations of my friends bank account, (yes, even the password), the credit card number, and he did some things, my friends could not even see, because that guy blacked out the entire screen (for security reasons, because he's now operating on the microsoft server, he said).

So that guy got everything. Full bank account information. Full credit card informations. Full access to my friends computer.

Now, my friends computer will be offline. Until we save the data and either remove that rootkit, that was installed or even set up a completely new operating system.

My friend is not dumb. He know some stuff about computers. He told me: "If you ever told me before, that this would happen to me, I would not believe you."

Working with surprise, shocks, a very polite tone, even some compliments, and - most of all - rushing my friends with call to actions, that guy was successful.

And I think, most of us would be. Perhaps not specific to this special kind of attack (any more), but maybe to something slightly different. Somewhere, where you fear something, you don't understand. Somewhere, where this stranger is friendly and show you how deep in misery you truly are. And somewhere, where this unknown caller convinces you, that all he wants is to help.

You are not as smart as you think. Neither am I.

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