Don’t call Tech Support…..

The criminals are at it again — “Immediately Call Apple Support” is a fake error message displayed on your Mac by a malicious exploit.   And yes, Windows users face similar attacks ..   “Call Microsoft help…”

Such exploits are  hosted on various websites, which are promoted via spam emails that encourage users to visit certain  websites. Following a visit one of these websites, an exploit runs new tasks until the computer freezes. A fake error message is then displayed.

For Mac users, there  are two variants of this exploit. The first targets computers running the OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) operating system. This variant continually opens new email message windows via the default Mac mail application. Following the opening of a certain number of active windows, the system runs out of memory and, therefore, freezes.

The second targets computers running the OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) and OS X 10.12 (Sierra) operating systems. This  variant opens an iTunes application and repeatedly emulates the clicking of an iTune link, which also results in a system freeze. Once the system has stopped responding, the exploit displays a fake error message stating that the system is infected and that the user’s private details (credit card information, email and other account passwords, etc.) are at risk. To remove the infection, victims must supposedly contact “Apple Customer Support” via a telephone number   provided.
But  this is a scam. There is no such infection . Neither Apple nor Microsoft send out such messages.  This  is   an attempt to scare and trick victims into calling and paying for services that are not needed. You should ignore this error message.

“Immediately Call Apple Support” shares similarities with many other fake errors such as Mac Detected TAPSNAKE infection and MAC Malware Warning Alert ! All claim that the system is infected, missing files, or corrupted/damaged in other similar ways, however, as with “Immediately Call Apple Support”, these errors are also attempts to scam victims.

These things are often distributed with adware-type applications that offer various ‘useful features’. Cyber criminals proliferate on these apps using a deceptive marketing method called “bundling” – stealth installation of third party software with regular applications.

Fake errors might also be distributed via fake software updates,  spam emails (malicious attachments), and third party software download sources (peer-to-peer networks, freeware download websites, etc.)

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Be cautious when downloading software.  Best of all, install only from the  Mac App store.  If you use  other sites, never accept offers to download/install additional applications. The infamous MacKeeper program is one which regularly appears  on some such sites.    Never open files received with suspicious emails or download  software from unofficial sources. The key to computer safety is caution.

Here are some of the fake messages you might see: –
Warning Virus Detected! Immediately Call Apple Support  0-800-876-6855. Your credit card details and banking information are at risk… Your e-mail passwords and other account passwords…. Your Facebook, Skype, AIM, ICQ and other…  Your private photos, family photos and other sensitive files…. Your webcam could be accessed remotely by stalkers….

To close new mail windows opened by any exploit, you can use “Force Quit Applications” (opened by pressing CTRL+ALT+ESC). Then completely close Safari and Mail applications.
Not a bad idea to then reboot the computer completely.

You may also like...