My poor friend Harold got bitten by a virus this morning. What happened speaks volumes to the real threat facing PC owners.
Harold is a bright guy–a technical guy. His computer has virus protection.
The criminals (that’s what they are) who wanted to infect his computer took that into account. They weren’t thinking about Harold in particular, but computer users in general who have become much more wary.
They used social engineering to convince Harold to install the virus himself!
Harold’s confidence was gained when he received a Facebook message from a trusted friend. Look at this video, the friend’s email implored. Harold did.
He was brought to a legitimate looking page with a legitimate looking demand for him to update his Flash player. Clicking there brought in the executable file that took over his PC.
I can’t be sure what this virus wanted to do (probably zombify Harold’s machine to send spam or denial-of-service attacks), but I do know one of its dastardly deeds was procreation! It sent similar video ‘invitations’ to all Harold’s friends gaining entrée to the Facebook account it knew Harold had.
We changed his Facebook password which stopped the varmint in its tracks–but not before it had sent over a dozen invitations on Harold’s behalf.
Now Harold has an infected computer which needs cleansing. In the end the only real solution might be save the data and reload the operating system to its original purchase state.
This is nuts. Attacks like this cost individuals and businesses lots of money. The criminal’s cost is minimal.
We need law enforcement to stop this just as we stop bank robbery or muggings or any other crime.
Solving these sophisticated crimes is difficult. Even though it’s not as sexy as perp walking some thug it’s worth the effort. Computer crime has been given a pass for too long.