Author Archives: DHarley

BTCWare/Nuclear – don’t pay up!

Bleeping Computer: New Nuclear BTCWare Ransomware Released (Updated)

Lawrence Abrams notes: “Michael Gillespie discovered that the developers of this variant messed up on the encryption of files greater than 10MB in file size and will not be able to decrypt them. It was also discovered that this same behavior was seen with other files of random sizes. Therefore, it is advised that you do not pay the ransom as there is a good chance many of your files not be able to be decrypted.”

David Harley

Heimdal’s Anti-Ransomware Protection Plan

Andra Zaharia, security evangelist at Heimdal, has published a very useful and exhaustive checklist for reducing your exposure to ransomware: The Anti-Ransomware Protection Plan You Need to Follow Today.

I get tired of reading ‘how to defend against ransomware’ articles that miss out vital points like not staying permanently connected to in-the-cloud storage, but this one really does cover most of the angles. Very nice.

David Harley

Tech Support Scammers Target BT Customers

Well, this isn’t the first time. But a report by Kat Hall for The Register suggests that some of the scammers may have more information about potential victims than they should. Which makes me wonder whether there’s a leak similar to that affecting TalkTalk customers. I’ve certainly been contacted in the past by BT sales people who were clearly not based in the UK.

I don’t know whether there’s been such a leak at BT, of course. However, it’s not unknown for people working in legitimate support to be also implicated in some way in support scamming, whether by leaking data or by working in a call centre that encourages scam calling as well as offering legit support for legit organizations. And it’s hard to police that kind of activity.

That article by Kat Hall: Indian call centre scammers are targeting BT customers – In some cases fraudsters knew their mark’s personal details

David Harley

Tech support scams – FTC offers money back…

…well, there’s no foolproof way of doing that (getting your money back, that is), unfortunately. But Shaun Nichols reports for The Register that FTC ready to give back tech support scamming money to the bilked.

“Those who have been identified as eligible by the FTC will get an email from the commission with a PIN number that can be used to obtain the claim forms. In order to claim a share of the payout, consumers will have to fill out a claim before October 27.”

The article does, very sensibly, point out the risk that scammers will use the FTC’s initiative as a springboard for further scams. Unfortunately, I can’t predict exactly what form such scams will take, but I’d be surprised if they don’t happen…

The Federal Trade Commission’s own press release is here: FTC Announces Refund Process for Victims of Deceptive Tech Support Operation.

It states:

Eligible consumers bought tech support products and services between April 2012 and November 2014 from Advanced Tech Support, which also used the name Inbound Call Experts. Consumers will have until October 27, 2017 to submit a request for a refund.

David Harley