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Protecting Yourself from Tech-Related Email Scams: Common Scams and How to Avoid Them

I asked ChatGPT to write an article on common tech related emails scams and how to not fall victim to them. ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with the chatbot.

In today’s digital age, email scams have become increasingly common, especially those that are tech-related. These scams often come in the form of emails that appear to be from legitimate tech companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, or Google, and they often ask for personal or financial information. To avoid falling victim to these scams, it’s important to be aware of the most common types of tech-related email scams and to know how to identify and avoid them.

1) Tech Support Scams
Tech support scams are one of the most common types of tech-related email scams. These scams typically involve an email that appears to be from a well-known tech company, such as Microsoft or Apple, claiming that there is an issue with your device or account. The email will often ask you to call a phone number or click on a link to receive tech support.

To avoid falling victim to a tech support scam, it’s important to remember that legitimate tech companies will never contact you out of the blue to provide support. If you receive an email claiming to be from a tech company, don’t click on any links or call any phone numbers provided in the email. Instead, go directly to the company’s official website to find support options.

2) Malware Scams
Malware scams are emails that contain malicious software, such as viruses or spyware, that can infect your device when you click on a link or download an attachment. These emails may appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a friend or a well-known company, but they are actually designed to trick you into downloading and installing malware.

To avoid falling victim to a malware scam, be wary of any email that asks you to download an attachment or click on a link. If you’re unsure whether an email is legitimate, don’t click on anything in the email. Instead, contact the sender directly to verify the legitimacy of the email.

3) Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are emails that appear to be from a well-known company, such as a bank or an online retailer, and they ask you to provide personal or financial information. These emails may look legitimate, but they are actually designed to trick you into providing your information so that scammers can use it for fraudulent purposes.

To avoid falling victim to a phishing scam, be wary of any email that asks you to provide personal or financial information. Legitimate companies will never ask you to provide this information via email. If you receive an email that appears to be from a legitimate company, go directly to the company’s website to verify the request.

4) Online Shopping Scams
Online shopping scams are emails that offer great deals on products or services, often with the promise of free shipping or other incentives. These emails may look legitimate, but they are actually designed to trick you into providing your credit card information so that scammers can use it for fraudulent purposes.

To avoid falling victim to an online shopping scam, be wary of any email that offers deals that seem too good to be true. Legitimate online retailers will never ask you to provide your credit card information via email. If you’re unsure whether an email is legitimate, go directly to the retailer’s website to verify the offer.

In conclusion, tech-related email scams are becoming increasingly common, and it’s important to be aware of the most common types of scams and to know how to identify and avoid them. Remember to always be cautious when opening emails, especially those that ask for personal or financial information. If you’re ever unsure whether an email is legitimate, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and contact the company or individual directly to verify the request.

FBI recommends routers be power cycled to disrupt malware infection

The FBI recommends that small office and home office routers be power cycled – rebooted or unplugged for a few seconds, then plugged back in – to disrupt possible malware infection. The firmware (software that controls hardware) for these devices should also be updated to the latest version. Contact Esser Consulting LLC for help. More info: https://www.ic3.gov/media/2018/180525.asp

CCleaner hacked with malware; what is known & what to do

Piriform announced on Monday that on September 12th, 2017 they discovered that the 32-bit version of their CCleaner and CCleaner Cloud programs were infected with malware. Approximately 3% of their CCleaner customers, specifically those running 32-bit Windows 10, were affected. The versions that were affected are CCleaner v5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud v1.07.3191 for 32-bit Windows PCs. The Android version for phones doesn’t seem to be affected.

Piriform issued a press release to their Cleaner customers, users and supporters with more details:

“We would like to apologize for a security incident that we have recently found in CCleaner version 5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud version 1.07.3191. A suspicious activity was identified on September 12th, 2017, where we saw an unknown IP address receiving data from software found in version 5.33.6162 of CCleaner, and CCleaner Cloud version 1.07.3191, on 32-bit Windows systems. Based on further analysis, we found that the 5.33.6162 version of CCleaner and the 1.07.3191 version of CCleaner Cloud was illegally modified before it was released to the public, and we started an investigation process. We also immediately contacted law enforcement units and worked with them on resolving the issue. Before delving into the technical details, let me say that the threat has now been resolved in the sense that the rogue server is down, other potential servers are out of the control of the attacker, and we’re moving all existing CCleaner v5.33.6162 users to the latest version. Users of CCleaner Cloud version 1.07.3191 have received an automatic update. In other words, to the best of our knowledge, we were able to disarm the threat before it was able to do any harm.”

“At this stage, we don’t want to speculate how the unauthorized code appeared in the CCleaner software, where the attack originated from, how long it was being prepared and who stood behind it. The investigation is still ongoing. We want to thank the Avast Threat Labs for their help and assistance with this analysis.”

“Again, we would like to apologize for any inconvenience this incident could have caused to our clients; we are taking detailed steps internally so that this does not happen again, and to ensure your security while using any of our Piriform products. Users of our cloud version have received an automated update. For all other users, if you have not already done so, we encourage you to update your CCleaner software to version 5.34 or higher.”

Bottom line, most people have a 64-bit Windows system, so they are probably not affected by this. To be safe, I recommend that all users of CCleaner run a scan with Malwarebytes, and update to the latest version of CCleaner (5.34) via Patch My PC.

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Curt Esser

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cesser@esserconsulting.com

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