Tech Support Scams Put UK Users at Risk

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Security experts are warning of an uptick in tech support scams aimed at UK users.

Eset revealed new data claiming to show that the UK’s share of HTML/FakeAlert malware rose to over 10% over the past month.

HTML/FakeAlert refers generically to the malware typically used in tech support scams. It flashes up fake alert messages relating to supposed malware infection or other technical issues with the victim’s machine.

The victim is then typically urged to contact a fake tech support phone line which could be a premium rate number, or else download and install a fake security tool which is actually additional malware.

“Support scams are a very popular way to dupe English-speaking users who pose a big and economically viable target,” explained Eset IT security specialist, Mark James.

“That might be the reason why the United Kingdom is ranking amongst the most targeted countries when it comes to this specific threat.”

Eset recommended users mitigate the risk of support scams like this by keeping machines patched and up-to-date and protected with reputable security.

It urged users to remain vigilant and not to trust unsolicited calls purporting to come from major IT companies like Microsoft.

Those that want to get in touch with tech support should do so via the official channels—a phone number or email contact on a vendor’s website, the firm added.

These scams have been around for years, and show no sign of abating as fraudsters are still persuading computer users to part with their money.

Last year it was revealed that the scammers have branched out into Mac-related campaigns, helping to spread tech support malware via malicious advertising.

Microsoft claimed last year that such scams had cost more than three million victims over $1.5 billion.

The computing giant said it had received more than 175,000 complaints about these scams over an 18-month period.

Photo © Piotr Marcinski

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