Malos Ojos Security Blog

Has Human-based Malware Become a Commodity?

by on Nov.30, 2012, under General

As a security professional it’s not often that people try to socially engineer me, especially over the phone.  But, I thought the call I received was worthy of both a big laugh as well as a post.  This got me thinking as well…is the going hourly rate for a person to sit and call people on the phone now low enough that it beats out automated malware and drive-bys?  While I doubt that is the case I have to assume that since it is still a running scam, and I saw articles on this from August of this year, that they are making money.  It also made me laugh as I took a trip down memory lane of having to do this as a consultant in a prior life, although I’d like to think my version was more convincing.

If you get it, here’s how the scam goes:

In my case it was a blocked call, and the person on the other end of the phone states they are with Microsoft.  My guy’s name was Victor Dias (Indian accent) which didn’t quite make sense given his difficulty with spelling it when I asked.  I’m kicking myself for not having a Win7 VM running at the time and following through on his instructions to see how this all ends, but I digress.  He asked me to do some rudimentary things, such as go to Start, search for “ev”, and open the event viewer.  Then he asked me if I have any errors or warnings in the Application logs, or if I have had any pop-ups stating that an application had crashed.  Next, he asked if I had AV running (which of course I said no to) so he said “your computer is probably infected with the malwares (sp) and junks (sp), can you open Remote Assistance and allow me to connect so I can run a scan to remove the junks (sp)?”

Awesome!  Going back to why I wanted to kick myself was that I didn’t have a Windows 7 system in front of me…I so wanted to see what he was going to do, and in hindsight what I may have been able to do to him (disclaimer: I’m not advocating offensive operations, wink wink).  At this point I was done with the scam and started to ask him a series of questions.  What is your name?  Can you spell that?  What is your MS employee ID number?  BTW, he answered with 44398…ummm, pretty sure they are 6 digits and not 5, to which he said “oh yes, mine is 5 digits”.  In fact, you can find this info online, so a little research prior to the scam never hurts (your welcome for the free advice, Victor).  What finally broke him was when I asked where he was calling from.  Manvil, TX, or Manville, TX…he couldn’t spell the name of the city he was in.  Then I asked which major city in Texas was closest to his location…he couldn’t answer.  So when I gave him options of cities he simply hung up, knowing he wasn’t getting anywhere with me.

So, I have a Win7 VM, my copy of NetWitness, and some surprises ready in case Victor calls back.  Here’s hoping to hear from you, Victor.

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