Remember: anything that connects to the internet is vunerable.
How the scam works
Remote access scammers call you on the phone claiming that your computer is infected by viruses. If you follow their instructions, it will allow them to access and control your computer where they can steal your information or install malware. They may also try to convince you to purchase 'anti-virus' software, which usually turns out to be overpriced or freely available on the internet.
Malware is a term for any malicious software that can be installed on your computer or other devices including viruses, spyware, ransomware, trojan horses and keystroke loggers.
Keystroke loggers and spyware allow scammers to record exactly what you type on your keyboard to find out passwords and bank details or access personal information and send this anywhere they want. Once installed, scammers can control your email and social media accounts and grab whatever information is on your device, including passwords. They can also use your accounts to send more scams to your friends and family.
Ransomware is another type of malware that encrypts or locks your device to prevent you from using it until a payment is made to unlock it. Paying up doesnt guarantee it will be unlocked or be free from hidden viruses, whihc can also spread and infect other computers or devices on your network.
Malware is commonly delivered by email and can appear to be from legitimate sources, such as your utility provider, a government agency or even the police purporting to issue a fine. Dont click on the link or open any attachments that you arent absolutely sure about. You may be downloading malicious software instead. These scams target both individuals and businesses.
- Be wary of free downloads offering music, games, movies and access to adult sites. They may install harmful programs without you knowing.
- Keep your office networks, computers, and mobile devices secure. Update your security software, change passwords and back up your data regularly. Store your backups offsite and offline. www.staysmartonline.gov.au explains how to back-up your data and secure your mobile devices.
- Do not open attachments or click on links in emails or social media messages youve received from strangers - just press delete.