Are Hackers Using Cold Calling Techniques to Promote Viruses

by Keith Williams

Unfortunately the use of 'cold calling' techniques has been used by hackers in an effort to promote fake anti-virus products. Cold calling has been a time-honored tradition among respectable companies that are simply looking to make a legitimate sale; however hackers are familiar with this procedure and have found a way to use it to further their illegal endeavors. The cold call format that hackers use is very similar to the online pop-up advertisements they have used in the past.

When customers are contacted via telephone they are usually informed by somebody who indicates they are a representative of one of the anti-virus manufacturer's. They will even use the name of a company you are familiar with, such as Microsoft, Symantec, AVG, Kaspersky or any of the other legitimate anti-virus software developers. They will inform the customer that their personal computer has been identified as an infected system and that immediate action is required in order to fix the problem and repair the computer.

They will ask vague questions which are directed to solicit positive responses from the customer while also indicating negative effects associated with virus infections. A commonly asked question is; “Has your computer started to slow down or operate at speeds slower than when you first purchased it?” Most computer users will answer 'Yes' at which time the caller informs them that they have an affordable solution to the problem.

The caller will then instruct the customer to turn on their computer and go to a specific site. Once on the referred website further instructions will be given to assist in the purchase and download of the product being offered. Once the sale has been completed and the fake anti-virus has been installed, more viruses will be present on your computer and further problems will begin to appear.

How do you know if you have fallen victim to this type of tactic? If you've ever received one of these calls and followed all of the instructions that were provided, then you are a victim of anti-virus fraud. There is no middle ground here. There's no possibility that the companies that contacted you were legitimate. Respectable anti-virus companies do not use cold calling methods to promote their products.

What can you do to protect yourself and others from falling victim to this in the future? Use good common sense when receiving this type of phone call, especially if you are on a National Do Not Call List, this should be an indicator that your privacy and therefore your security has been breached.

If you receive this type of call you can do a couple of things to help protect yourself. First and foremost disregard any of the false information and instructions that are offered. You can always hang up the phone and block any further calls from coming through; however this will only serve to protect you and leaves everybody else at risk. If you want to help the entire Internet community you can try to use their own tactics against them and retrieve as much information as possible regarding what they have to offer.

Ask for a name and a contact number as well as an extension. Request more information about the company such as where it is physically located. Ask for a Customer Support hotline number for any further questions. Write down the website address they provide for you. If they aren't willing to divulge this type of information, then they are not affiliated with any type of legitimate business. If you are able to retrieve any of this information then you should contact the Customer Support Center for an authentic anti-virus developer and forward that information on to them. If the caller indicates a specific anti-virus developer is involved contact that developer directly through their company website and inform them of the situation. They will normally return any correspondence with a response that they are not involved and that the information is being investigated. If it is found to be malicious in nature it will be added to the databases of several anti-virus programs and help protect others from ending up as victims.

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