Could be a threat to Linux (?)

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tovian
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Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by tovian » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:08 pm

LONG STORY... This is about a security issue - a potential threat - but I'm not sure which Forum is best to post in.

Earlier this afternoon I received a telephone call. The caller had an obvious Indian accent (some words I couldn't understand). He informs me that my computer is having security problems and it is reporting those problems to his server. I know this routine well - AND I LOVE TO PLAY ALONG... ACT DUMB... WASTE THEIR TIME... WHATEVER. It's sort of a game to see how long I can keep them on the phone before they use the only vulgar English words they know to tell me how disappointed they are in my behavior. :roll:

Well, I had the first guy for the better part of 30 minutes, did everything he asked, but nothing seemed to work like he was expecting (of course I failed to tell him that I was on a Linux computer and none of his Windows commands/programs were going to work). Finally, he was so exasperated (and stumped) that he TRANSFERRED THE CALL to his Supervisor (level-2). This was apparently at least a fair-sized call-center as I could hear numerous other "agents" in the background. So, mope number 2 gets on the line with me. I followed all his instructions as well (things like hold down the Windows-key with one finger and hit the "R" key with another finger). After he also failed to get the Windows run-dialog he also had me manually start my "Foxfire" browser ("Foxfire" is me acting like I don't know what I'm talking about). We went through all the previous instructions, (by now I'm on their site before they say, "start typing WWW").

I'm running on a Mint-18.3/64/KDE box on my "TEST" LAN - and I've physically disconnected the bridging cable to my Real LAN so - just in case they do something I'm not expecting - they can't get to my real network and important computers.

We get to their web-site (both thumbnails below are screen-caps (posted on Postimage.org) - they DO NOT link to the real site - so they're safe to look at.
Image
He has me click the BIG 1. I download a Windows executable (Supremo.exe) again (already did it with the first guy). I know it won't run on Linux and we, again, spend a lot of time trying to figure out why. Finally I tell him why: I am running on a Linux box and just trying to waste his time. He isn't paying attention to me, probably planning his next move, so he has me close EVERYTHING and open my browser again. I'm utterly amazed at how persistent he is even when I've told him, flat-out, that I've got this covered and just wasting his time. BUT THIS IS WHERE IT GETS A LITTLE SCARY...

The second time he has me go to his web-site and has me choose the BIG 2. This time he is wanting me to run what I'm certain is a "Remote-Desktop" client (similar to LogMeIn or TeamViewer) so that he can get in my machine.
Image
I'm afraid that if I play along with this one it might actually sense "Linux" and let him in my computer. THIS IS THE REAL THREAT. If his website discovers my OS and supplies the correct client software he may RD into my computer before I can stop him. I have no fear of him trying to run Windows malware on my Linux box, but if he's versed in Linux and gets into my machine there's no telling what he can do... SO THIS IS A GENUINE THREAT.

I always enjoy turning the tables on these morons who are trying so hard to take advantage of innocent people. One of these days I'm sure it's going to bite me in the ass, but it'll be totally my fault.

Feel free to download the screen caps and pass to other folks who may not know what some of the "bad guy" methods actually look like.
https://s25.postimg.org/jjl6l7k5r/opt-1.jpg
https://s25.postimg.org/fzz8vep5r/opt-2.jpg
“I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!"
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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by whm1974 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:16 pm

Well it wise to be really cautious about this sort of thing. Remove Wine from this system and use an user agent for FireFox and Chrome to trick such websites into thinking you are running Windows and not Linux. I hope that you delete the files that you D/L as well.

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by majpooper » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:20 pm

A buddy of mine like to do that with phone scam calls - I just hang up on them.

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by whm1974 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:25 pm

majpooper wrote:A buddy of mine like to do that with phone scam calls - I just hang up on them.
Over the last few years I started to hang up on anyone with an Indian accent due to the scams.

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by Schultz » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:37 pm

I had a similar experience with one of these crooks (albeit he didn't have me go to any website as far as I can remember). Once I told him I was on Linux, he wanted me to do something different than what he was telling me to do when he thought I was on Windows. So like you (the OP) I hung up.

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by tovian » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:43 pm

Immediately hanging up is the worst thing WE can do. Their "business" model (profitability) depends on people hanging up immediately if they are not a candidate.
That frees them (their auto-dialers) to call more people. Statistics prove that for every "X" calls they will get "Y" nibbles and "Z" sales. The worst thing you can possibly do to these people is tie up them and their resources (somebody's paying salaries, rents, long-haul phone time, etc.). If any of their people or equipment are tied up they can't be used to further the business (scam). If everybody wasted just 5 minutes of these guys' time the enterprise would become unprofitable and the calls would stop next week. They are only successful because they play the numbers, the numbers don't lie, and when you hang up you're actually helping them out.
“I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!"
"We're just the guys to do it.”

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by whm1974 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:48 pm

tovian wrote:Immediately hanging up is the worst thing WE can do. Their "business" model (profitability) depends on people hanging up immediately if they are not a candidate.
That frees them (their auto-dialers) to call more people. Statistics prove that for every "X" calls they will get "Y" nibbles and "Z" sales. The worst thing you can possibly do to these people is tie up them and their resources (somebody's paying salaries, rents, long-haul phone time, etc.). If any of their people or equipment are tied up they can't be used to further the business (scam). If everybody wasted just 5 minutes of these guys' time the enterprise would become unprofitable and the calls would stop next week. They are only successful because they play the numbers, the numbers don't lie, and when you hang up you're actually helping them out.
Well if you have the time to spare and are willing to do this, then by all means help put scammers out of business.

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by tovian » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:02 pm

Old guys have time - trust me :D

But also, I learned a lot today - just following how these guys are working the scam (even though i've seen it more than a few times in the past). Any time I can go through one of these exercises there will be something valuable I can take away. And, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I jerked them around instead of letting them have their way with me !!

Some of those companies used to maintain a (secret) poison-number list. Whenever they found a number that wasted their time they would add it to the list. Then they would feed that list to their auto-dialers and those numbers would never be called again. That's not just playing the numbers - it's stacking the odds even further in their favor.
“I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!"
"We're just the guys to do it.”

Animal House

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by Pierre » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:52 pm

Yeah - - this stuff is a World Wide Problem,
:roll:
and as always, there is some Folks, who have a little Time on their Hands,
plus, they are wise to these things, and are Happy to Play Along.

so tovian you Only Got to Level Two ??.

My Record is Level Three :D :D
( didn't know that there was such a thing in a Scam Support Call )
IE: never call me, on a Saturday Afternoon, when I've had a Few Beers, & am Getting Bored :oops:

but - - I'm also do agree, that "Immediately hanging up is the worst thing WE can do".
if, you are prepared to cop this crap, for a Period of Time.

However, having said that bit,,
- Do Be Careful Here - - You Are Playing with Fire ! . !
and don't ever use your Main Machine to do this stuff.

you can set up a VB for this scenario & I've read of some Geek that did this,
but,, you have to do this in such as way, that it is not too obvious that the Windows is in a VBox.

the thing is - - that they can't see / know what you are really doing,
and I've had some Mates who simply crack another beer & simply "work the chat"
IE: they are nowhere near to any machine, and simply play along.
- this is the better method, if you just wish to waste their time. ..
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Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by michael louwe » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:29 am

AFAIK, there is also an insider scam affecting Fixed-line Home telephones where the insiders pretend to make a wrong number call. If the recipient hangs up the telephone first, the insider will then be able to make expensive overseas telephone calls or mobile cell-phone calls that will be charged to the recipient's telephone bill.

To prevent this scam, the recipients should not hang up first, ie wait for the insider-scammers to hang up first, no matter how long. Also, as long as the recipients do not hang up their telephones first, the scammers will not be able to use their telephones. So, the scammers will be forced to hang up first sooner or later. Recipients can also opt to not hang up their telephones for many hours, just to tie up the scammers' telephones and irritate them.

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by catweazel » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:50 am

tovian wrote:The worst thing you can possibly do to these people is tie up them and their resources
I don't know about that. My 100 year old mother blows a football whistle down the phone whenever she hears an Indian voice.
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. - Max Planck

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by tovian » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:01 am

Pierre wrote:so tovian you Only Got to Level Two ??.
My Record is Level Three
OUTSTANDING !! ............ i commend thee and bow at thy feet.

michael louwe wrote:the recipients should not hang up first, ie wait for the insider-scammers to hang up first, no matter how long.
I do this "religiously" - just because I want to tie up their phone line as long as I possibly can. Thwarting a call billed to my number is just a bonus !

catweazel wrote:My 100 year old mother blows a football whistle down the phone
In the old days of copper connections and analog devices that worked great... not so much nowdays. Digital equipment (in the phone company) can set max audio levels, and even the desksets (and headphone sets) can set max audio. Call your mother, ask her to blow her whistle, and see if it's really loud or just an annoying sound. (Hint; I did that for about a week then I heard the caller I had just done it to laughing at me... he wasn't annoyed at all... he just thought my response was pathetic.)
“I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!"
"We're just the guys to do it.”

Animal House

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by Pepi » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:09 am

I like messing with them also. Had one just yesterday. He said he sees virus activity on my computer. I said, " you should, I'm writing viruses". He said , what? I told him I hack people like he does. He said if you are such a great hacker then get into my computer. I said OK .. hold on a few mins. he hung up on me :mrgreen:

I like leading them on playing stupid until the part where you need to put in their website. This is where I tell them I don't have internet :mrgreen: This really sets them off. I tell them the local police took my internet away.

Ever get the one about auto insurance? Patch through and tell them you want insurance for your moped :mrgreen:

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by Pierre » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:17 pm

@ michael louwe that's most probably an USA / UK based thing,
as that will not work in AU - I've read of some interesting Money Making Rackets in the UK,
from using High Priced calling Numbers,, those would never work over here.

the closest thing would be those Astrology / Fortune Telling / Sexy Chat Numbers,
that do run at over $5 / minute, but you can get them blocked, very easily.

the latest trend, is those Scam Numbers, on Smart Phones, were the user is Tricked with some URL,
and gets billed for some horrendous amount. these are now getting blocked too, just recently was in the news.
- - Local Telco's were in on these "preferred suppliers" as they got a cut of the action, of course.

it's also true than when your Mother blows a Football Whistle over her Telephone,
- that this technique doesn't work at all, due to Volume Limiting via the Exchange equipment.
the same thing applies to these Foreign Scammers were they have a Low Audio Volume,
and if you then crank up your volume, then you can get lots of Background Noise,
rather than the audio of the far end ( the scammer themselves )
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Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by tovian » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:47 pm

I realize that it's a little late at this point, but I do want to point out...

The web-site the scammer was using is (without the dots):
WWW FASTTECH365 COM
(that's Fast Tech 365 all run together)

If you Google fasttech365 one of the hits you will get is this:
https://www.wired.com/2017/03/listen-te ... s-victims/
with a pretty good story about the scam.

By The Way: I have another really good method I employ at times. It isn't illegal, it isn't even vulgar, but it's really "tacky". I'm sure the mods/admins here would not appreciate me writing about it on the board (in the clear) - so, ii you're interested - PM me and I'll share my truly aggravating (to them) method.
“I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!"
"We're just the guys to do it.”

Animal House

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by majpooper » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:40 pm

I read about a guy who put is very talkative toddler on the phone - bet that would be an interesting conversation. Funny how this topic just came up and yesterday I got a call that said there was a payment issue with my SirusXM (satellite radio) and it would be cut off in 48 hours at which point I hung up. And a few weeks ago I got one . . . something about military veterans benefits and started asking date of birth - again I hung up. Last year my wife got one supposedly from the "IRS" (Internal Revenue Service i.e. the federal tax collector). Seems they were going to take legal action concerning unpaid federal taxes that amounted to a substantial sum. However the person on the phone had the authority to reduce the amount and call off the dogs if my wife would agree to pay right then and there with a credit card but the offer had to be accepted or else legal action would be taken immediately. My wife just burst out laughing - she said the guy was just so dramatic.

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by shengchieh » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:11 pm

Tip: Boot a liveCD/liveDVD/liveUSB then even if he messes the OS, it does nothing to the installed OS.

Sheng-Chieh

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by catweazel » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:26 am

tovian wrote:Call your mother, ask her to blow her whistle
You call her.

:mrgreen:
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. - Max Planck

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by tovian » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:53 am

shengchieh wrote:Tip: Boot a liveCD/liveDVD/liveUSB then even if he messes the OS, it does nothing to the installed OS
That's a good thought, but there is STILL a problem (and it's the same one i have whenever I play along). If I (or you) go to their web-site - with an installed OS (Windows or Linux or BSD or whatever) OR with a Live Session - THEY HAVE MY/YOUR PUBLIC IPAddress. If they have the skills, or pass that address to their friends "on the dark side", somebody may spend a good deal of time trying to "pay me back" for wasting their time. I know a lot of those guys (most of them in that business) are smarter than I, and no matter how well protected or hidden I think I am, they will "get me" if they try hard enough. I know this, and still I "play with fire". I suppose it's possible that I could spoof my IPAddress, but I don't know how. I probably don't need to anyway since I use an older DSL connection for this, and I can simply reboot my gateway and get a new public IPAddress.

catweazel wrote:You call her.
Gimme her number :wink: :roll:
“I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!"
"We're just the guys to do it.”

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Re: Could be a threat to Linux (?)

Post by trapperjohn » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:25 pm

AND I LOVE TO PLAY ALONG... ACT DUMB... WASTE THEIR TIME... WHATEVER
I always try to do this, but I either get excited and start ranting or I break into uncontrollable laughter.
they use the only vulgar English words they know
Last time I got the call I snickered under my breath for one brief second during her introduction and she jumped directly into the dirty words. Then, just before I asked her out, she hung up.

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