Scammers Portray IRS in Latest Phishing Scam
Earlier this week, the IRS issued a warning to taxpayers regarding a fraudulent email that has been impersonating the agency. The email includes tax transcripts, in an attempt to get the users to click on the documents, which contain malware. The biggest risk would be employees clicking on these emails on company networks. By doing so, the malware would spread network-wide.
The scam email includes an attachment labeled “tax account transcript” or something similar, with a subject line using some variation of the phrase “tax transcript.”
According to KLFY News 10, this malware, known as Emotet, generally poses as specific financial institutions in its effort to trick people into opening infected documents. This time, they’ve portrayed the IRS. Cybersecurity experts have labeled Emotet one of the most costly and destructive malware variants in the wild.
Proceed with Caution
The IRS has the following suggestions if you receive this email scam:
- Do not open the email or attachment.
- Delete or forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If an email goes to your business, notify the company’s technology professionals.
The bottom line – the IRS does not, and will not, send out unsolicited emails. Therefore, if you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from them– do not open it, it is a scam.
How Refurbished Computers Save You a Bunch (and Get You a Better System)
Refurbished computers are almost like an insider secret – you can get great system specs for a fraction of the price. It’s how many families are meeting their back to school needs and upgrading their old systems, complete with warranty.
There’s one hot tip these people know: a refurb is NOT the same as used. You’re right to avoid those 2nd hand computers you see on Craigslist or Gumtree because there’s a reason that person is selling it! It’s probably slowed to a crawl, making weird noises or flat out broken in a way you’d never discover until too late. Refurbished computers are the complete opposite. They’re computers that have been given a new life, usually with a comprehensive repair, or sometimes they’re brand-new computers that were returned with a small problem like a hard drive failure, so we swap it out and sell it at bargain prices. Occasionally, the computer was even returned simply because the buyer changed their mind, but it’s still essentially brand-new (it might still be in the box!).
Quite often, refurbished computers start their life as business machines, built to the latest specs with business-grade components. When the budget or lease says ‘replace the computers’, that’s what the business does, whether the computers need it or not. There’s nothing wrong with them and they’ve likely been babysat by a corporate IT department who kept them in perfect condition every day. These are great machines that are still plenty fast for home use, both desktops and laptops. Plus, because business-grade components are more durable than the consumer ones, the entire system has been built to last longer and perform better, often up to several years without a problem. Rather than send these impressive machines to landfill, we check and replace necessary components and re-install a clean operating system. Next, we put them through a stack of verification tests, then pack them up ready for their new home. When you talk to us about buying one, we’ll always make sure you get a system that not only keeps up with your needs now, but gives you breathing space for the next few years too.
What are the benefits?
- You save a LOT of money: You get yourself a great computer that’s been set up and checked over by an expert technician, for significantly less than the cost of buying new. Add in the fact that when you score a refurbished business computer you’re also getting more durable, higher-quality components that will last you for years longer than the off-the-shelf consumer model, it’s a clear win. We always recommend that when you see a refurbished deal that’s got you smiling, you act fast – it won’t sit around waiting for you!
- Covered by warranty: A warranty is always included with our refurbished computers, giving you value plus peace of mind. It’s your guarantee that buying refurbished was a great decision. Problems are extremely rare since your computer has been through stringent checks, but if anything pops up that’s giving you trouble, we’ll fix it fast. Forget the delays and hoop jumping you might get with your other warranties, we stand by ours with rapid action.
- You’re saving the environment: Fewer machines end up in landfill and fewer resources are used for unnecessary manufacturing. When you consider each computer requires a certain amount of precious metals to be mined, plastics to be created, packaging created from multiple materials and all the associated flow on effects of shipping, refurbishment is the right choice for the future. While you might not personally see the environmental impact of your decision to buy refurbished, rest assured the planet appreciates it!
Are they reliable?
Some people think that refurbished computers are more likely to break, when in truth, in some cases they’re actually more reliable than brand new. Manufacturers have an expected failure rate, a percentage of computers that go straight from the factory to buyers who discover their expensive new system is dead-on-arrival or breaks within weeks. A refurbished computer has already stood the test of time and it performed without missing a beat. By the time it’s gone through our checks and repairs (both required and pre-emptive), a refurbished computer is better than new.
If you need a better computer on a tight budget, give us a call at 210-549-6477.
Can I Just Unplug My Computer to Shut It Down?
You may damage your computer.
By pulling the plug or forcing a power-off by holding down the power button, you risk corrupting data on your hard drive and damaging hardware.
I’m not sure what kinds of problems you’re having with the power button, but even that needs to be used correctly, or you could end up with the very problems you’re seeing.
1.Report the scam
In Canada: Contact Law Enforcement
2.Report misleading ads
“TrustInAds.org comprises a group of Internet industry leaders that have come together to work toward a common goal: Protect people from malicious online advertisements and deceptive practices.” Report misleading ads here.
3.Shut down their remote software account
Write down the TeamViewer ID (9-digit code) and send it to TeamViewer’s support (they can later on block people/companies with that information)
LogMeIn: Report abuse
4.Spread the word
You can raise awareness by letting your friends, family, and other acquaintances know what happened to you. Although this may be an embarrassing experience if you fell victim to these scams, educating the public will help someone caught in a similar situation and deter further scam attempts.
If the scammers represent themselves as working with or for Malwarebytes, please make sure to contact Malwarebytes support – we are actively working to combat these scammers. Any information you can provide about these scammers will help us prevent those scammers from targeting other people.
If you already paid:
Contact your financial institution/credit card company to reverse the charges and keep an eye out for future unwanted charges.
If you gave them personal information such as date of birth, Social Security Number, full address, name and maiden name you may want to consult the FTC’s website and report identity theft.
If you have been contacted by a company that you think may be attempting to scam you, please see the following list of confirmed scammers (please make sure to click on the “Tech Support Blacklist” link for the up-to-date list).
HP Recalls Batteries for Notebook Computers and Mobile Workstations Due to Fire and Burn Hazards
This recall involves lithium-ion batteries for HP Notebook computers and mobile workstations. The batteries were shipped with or sold as accessories for HP ProBooks (64x G2 and G3 series, 65x G2 and G3 series), HPx360 310 G2, HP Envy m6, HP Pavilion x360, HP 11, HP ZBook (17 G3, 17 G4, and Studio G3) Mobile Workstations. The batteries were also sold as accessories or replacement batteries for the HP ZBook Studio G4 mobile workstation or for any of the products listed above.
Consumers should immediately visit www.HP.com/go/batteryprogram2018 to see if their battery is included in the recall and for instructions on how to enable “Battery Safety Mode” if their battery is included in the recall. The website provides consumers instructions on how to initiate the validation utility to check their battery and what to download if their battery is included in the recall. These batteries are not customer-replaceable. HP will provide free battery replacement services by an authorized technician.
HP has received eight reports of battery packs overheating, melting, or charring, including three reports of property damage totaling $4,500 with one report of a minor injury involving a first degree burn to the hand.
Best Buy and other stores and authorized dealers nationwide and online at www.Amazon.com, www.hp.com and other websites. The batteries were shipped in notebook computers and mobile workstations sold from December 2015 through December 2017 for between $300 and $4,000. The batteries were also sold separately for between $50 and $90.
HP Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif.
Windows Meltdown-Spectre fix: How to check if your AV is blocking Microsoft patch
Antivirus firms are gradually adding support for Microsoft’s Windows patch for the Meltdown and Spectre attack methods that affect most modern CPUs.
As Microsoft warned this week, it’s not delivering its January 3 Windows security updates to customers if they’re running third-party antivirus, unless the AV is confirmed to be compatible with it.
Microsoft’s testing found some antivirus products were producing errors by making unsupported calls into Windows kernel memory, resulting in blue screen of death (BSOD) errors.
Third-party Windows antivirus products need to support Microsoft’s security update and set a Windows registry key for customers to receive the update via Windows Update.
To make matters more confusing, only some antivirus vendors are actually doing both, while others require admins to set the registry key themselves, using Microsoft’s instructions. Additionally, some antivirus companies haven’t completed compatibility testing.
Microsoft hasn’t said which antivirus products are compatible beyond its own Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. However, security researcher Kevin Beaumont has created a public spreadsheet that may help IT admins prepare for installing Microsoft’s mitigations for the attack techniques that affect CPUs from Intel, AMD and Arm, albeit to differing degrees.
Call 210-549-6477 with questions