Fright Night Comes to a Computer Near You

Sue Marquette Poremba

I’m not a fan of Halloween. I don’t like being scared or spooked. I have no interest of giving myself goosebumps and sleepless nights from a movie or book. After all, there is enough scary stuff in real life.

One of those scary things is the threat to the computer network and the sensitive data it stores. In honor of Halloween, Nick Nascimento, chief “geek” at AGeek2Go, sent me some of the scariest threats out there right now. They are:

FBI MoneyPak Trojan. A piece of ransomware that forces you to pay to remove it, and, of course, after you pay, the malware isn’t removed. Most of the time, ransomware locks up the user’s desktop, and disables task manager and other system utilities to avoid the termination of the process by the user. FBI MoneyPak ransomware also takes it to an entirely new level by adding a little video recording square in the top right corner of the fake FBI warning page. It’s supposed to be your built-in Web camera. Curiously, this little square shows up even if your laptop doesn’t have a built-in camera.

Malicious eventvwr scam from offshore call centers. The scam goes like this: You get a call from a guy with a generic name who explains to you that he’s a registered Microsoft technician and received a call alerting him that your IP address is the source for serious attacks on their servers due to multiple computer virus infections on your end. The trick is to get you to grant them full access to your computer, complete with your passwords and other personal information, so they can remove the virus, except they now have access to everything on your system.

Fake virus alerts/scareware. These fake AV scams have been around for a while now, and yet people keep falling for them. They want credit card information, but the malware installed can make your computer unusable.

FakeInst SMS Trojan and its variants. Or, the attacks on your mobile device. As Nascimento pointed out, FakeInst disguises itself as popular apps like Instagram, Opera Browser and Skype, and sends SMS messages to premium-rate numbers.

To make your Halloween even scarier, AppRiver’s security analyst Troy Gill provided some scary movies to go along with specific IT frights:

Movie: “28 Days Later” (Real-Life Horror: State Sponsored Attacks)

Movie: “Se7en” (Real-Life Horror: Hacktivism)


Movie: “The Ring” (Real-Life Horror: Mobile Exploits)

Movie: “The Thing” (Real-Life Horror: New Malware)

Movie: “Species” (Real-Life Horror: Web-based Threats)

That should provide a few sleepless nights for IT departments. As for me, I need to find where my husband hid the peanut butter cups. Knowing there is chocolate in the house but not knowing where it is located is about as scary as it gets for me.



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