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Watch Out for Windows Activation Scams on Your PC

By August 27, 2016May 25th, 2021Blog, Cybersecurity

WatchXOutXForXWindowsXActivationXScamXOnXYourXPCThere have been a number of scams in recent years involving malware that creates false flag problems on your desktop. The faux problem is presented, along with a phone number you can call to get help resolving the issue. Consider this a kinder, gentler form of ransomware.

Because it all looks very official, and the “tech support” people you get to talk to are so very friendly and professional, an unsuspecting user might not think twice about paying the fee (sometimes as high as $99) to allow the person on the other end of the call remote access to their computer in order to fix the problem.

That, of course, is a mistake, and it’s exactly what the hackers want. Not only do they get a tidy fee from the user to fix a problem that they created, once in your machine, they have full control over it, and any data you have on it. If the machine is connected to a corporate network, the problem is even worse, and your data risk could be significant.

There’s one variant currently making the rounds that displays a false Windows Activation screen. Once you see it, clicking on anything will play a recorded message instructing you to call the number on the screen.

Don’t call, and definitely don’t pay them any money.

In the Windows Activation Number box, simply type the words “closecloseclosecloseclose” (five times, no spaces, and no quotation marks) and the message will go away. Once you have full control of your system again, you can run most any antivirus program to safely and completely remove it from your PC.

Unfortunately, this rather simplistic version of the software still manages to snare a good percentage of people in its clutches, so spread the word and help make it a little harder for the hackers to gain ground.

Chris Forte

Chris Forte, President and CEO of Olmec Systems, has been in the MSP workspace for the past 25 years. Chris earned his Master’s Degree from West Virginia University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He was a past member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a current member of the New Jersey Power Partners and Executive Association of New Jersey, where he has previously served on its board of directors. In his spare time, Chris enjoys traveling with his family. He also admits to being a struggling golfer and avid watcher of college football and basketball. He currently lives in Boonton Township, NJ with his wife, two daughters, son, and black lab Luna.