Yesterday while visiting her mother, my wife did a search at YouTube. For some inexplicable reason (I wasn’t there to observe what exactly went down,) this website was accessed:
Overlaid on this screen was a scary-looking popup:
The page is especially nasty: it disables the back button, the close button, and any other Chrome windows you happen to have open. The only way out is to kill Chrome via the task manager, or by doing that hard reset that the message tells you should not be done.
This would be very unsettling for someone like my mother-in-law who is not terribly computer-savvy (although she’s quite good with email and Facebook) and the deal here is that if you call the number – definitely not Microsoft – you get some agent in an Indian or Pakistani boiler-room who will convince you that they are from Microsoft, fling all sorts of nonsense technobabble at you, talk you through the process of installing TeamViewer or some other such remote-control software, and then upload malware to your machine.
The scam is very similar to what I described in Don’t Help the Scammers (item no. 4); a good comprehensive writeup of this type of scam is also found at MalwareBytes Unpacked.
Please be careful out there, and if you have friends or relations, particularly the elderly, who could be taken in by this jiggery-pokery, please help them to stay safe.
The Old Wolf has spoken.