Tech support scams often come in the form of annoying pop-up adds that claims your computer is busted or infected by some awful virus that you can fix by calling a dodgy phone number. These kinds of scams aren’t new but now scammers can make it look like there’s really something wrong with your computer, making them much more convincing. Here’s what you need to know.
In 2014, a HTML5 bug was found that can crash Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers by directing them to a dodgy website. With just a few lines of code, the affected site can max out a device’s CPU and memory. It doesn’t exactly crash your PC, but it will make it freeze.
Tech scammers are taking advantage of this bug by creating fake websites that pose as legitimate tech support pages from real companies like Microsoft, freezing a computer and leaving a message for the user to call a phone number to get their machine’s fixed.
As security company Malwarebytes observed, depending on your computer’s specifications you may or may not be able to launch Task Manager to kill the browser process. If you can’t do that, the only other option is to do a hard reboot.
Never ever call the number that is shown on these fake websites. Microsoft or any other legitimate company would never ask you to call them when an error occurs. It’s just scammers that want you to pay them hundreds of dollars to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.
Don’t be fooled.
You may have noticed Lifehacker Australia looks different. We’re keen to hear your thoughts on the redesign. Share your feedback here!