Beware of website scams!

I’m sorry I haven’t posted about this sooner, as many of you have already talked to me about it, or received assistance dealing with it, but I’m afraid it’s getting so out of control, I feel the need to drop everything and try to warn everyone else about the issue.
If you see something like above on your computer (or iPhone/iPad), DON’T FALL FOR IT! It’s a complete hoax. If you were to call the number listed, you would get someone with a very thick accent, claiming to work for Apple (or Microsoft, or something else), who would then attempt to convince you to let them access your computer remotely (AGAIN, DON’T DO IT!). If you did let them, they would then proceed to show you a normal under-the-hood program on your Mac called Console, which constantly logs the computer’s activity. They use that to trick you into believing that the logs are showing you error messages resulting from the ‘virus’ on your computer, and proceed to ask you to pay them between $250-500 to ‘repair’ your computer for you! Of course, even worse, they could install something themselves that could take over your computer, while they have access to it!!
If you want to read more about how they’re doing this, check out this blog post. [In short, it’s done using a “javascript hook”.]
I’ve had clients reporting these things at a rate of several a week for a month or more, and it seems to be escalating. I’m not sure what can be done to stop it, but here’s what to do if it happens to you:
  • Force Quit the browser you’re using (Safari or Chrome), by either using the Force Quit command in the Apple menu, or clicking-and-holding on the browser’s icon in your Dock until a little menu pops up. There’s a Quit command at the bottom of that menu, and you can change it to Force Quit by holding down the Option key while the menu is down, then clicking on Force Quit.
  • Once the browser is off, open it back up again, but make sure you hold down the Shift key while you click on its icon in your Dock! Keep the Shift key down until the browser finishes starting up normally.
If you see this on your iPad/iPhone, then follow these steps:
  • ‘Quit’ Safari by double-clicking the Home button and then swiping up on the little Safari window there.
  • Delete your browser history in Settings>Safari (otherwise the site will be back up next time you launch Safari).
  • Relaunch Safari.
To summarize, I need to stess this simple rule:
Don’t believe any warning you get on your computer/smartphone/tablet, via email, in Safari, or otherwise, unless it’s generated by antivirus software YOU installed! If you’re not sure about something, call Apple (or me), but never use a contact number that you haven’t found yourself from Apple’s website. The best number for them is 800-692-7753.
Speaking of antivirus/antimalware programs, there are two good free options for Macs now. First, to rid yourself of the ubiquitous ‘adware’ I see so often these days:
Then, if you want to have a little more (free!) peace of mind, there’s this:
I hope I can save a few of you a lot of hassle by letting you know about all this! As always, call or email with questions.
Hope to see you all at a class sometime soon!