Jerome Segura has been tracking tech support scams for a year, documenting the ploys he's encountered. But even this one found him unprepared.
"Combining a phishing scam with a fake tech support call center is something that I'd never seen before," the Malwarebytes senior security researcher told Wired.co.uk. A video of the find shows Segura trying to enter a fake Netflix login on the streaming service's homepage, only to be presented with a notice telling him the account has been suspended, and telling him to call a fake tech support number.
He dutifully called up and was asked to download "Netflix Support Software"—really the remote control software TeamViewer, which allowed the scammer access to his system. Once he had hopped on, the hacker told Segura he'd been hacked. In fact, the scammer said he'd been hacked nine times, with one coming from Serbia, four from Russia, three from China, and one from Italy. It's all part of a tactic to instill fear and get the user to comply, explains Segura. Like when the helpful voice on the other end of the phone showed him a scan of apparent hacker activity—which was really just custom-made Windows batch script.