Ransom Ware starts with Fake Windows Tech Support Call
"Your Windows computer is sending out error messages and we suspect that it has been hacked by the Chinese government".
That's what the fellow with an Indian accent told me when I answered my land line phone. He passed me on to his tech support team when I feigned concern over the matter.
"To prove that you have been hacked", the next person said, "press Windows + R on your keyboard (opens the Run dialogue box), type "eventvwr" and press the Enter key". That launched the Event Viewer that lists the warnings and errors generated inside a Windows PC. There are always a lot.
"Click on the Application link on the left", he said. The center window immediately filled up with a list of warnings. "There! Proof that you've been hacked. You must let me help you fix your PC".
The fellow urged me to type the following web addresses into the same Run dialogue box: www.teamviewer.com. He supplied me with a different address (www.Ammyy.com) when I told him that Team Viewer site was unresponsive.
Both Teamviewer and Ammyy are legitimate websites that allow remote administrators to take control of a computer for diagnostic and repair purposes. In legitimate business situations, the user goes to the site and Joins a remote Control Session. This gives the remote administrator complete control of the user's computer, including the ability to install programs, erase files or browse the hard drive.
But this was not a legitimate call. It was an attempt to get my credit card money to remove a non-existent virus. Worse, the tech support imposter could have opened a backdoor to my computer to extract more money in the future. The caller cursed at me in a very un-Microsoft way when he realized that I was not taking the bait.
Ignore calls that your computer is sending out error messages. Microsoft employees do not make such calls and even if they did, they don't track error logs. Moreover, errors and warnings that appear in the Event Viewer are completely normal for any Windows PC and are not caused by viruses. The error-message scam has been going on for years by Windows tech-support imposters in an attempt to take your money. Don't be fooled.