It has been a risk since the inception of the internet, while it offers many benefits, it also contains a number of threats. Most of those are of course other people, keen to access the banking details that users enter on a regular basis. As the internet has become more commonplace, a facet of life, so too has the complexity, number and scale of the threats on offer. With users often unprotected, lacking in general technical knowledge and somewhat oblivious to the potential threats on the other side of the computer screen, the internet could be considered as something of lawless land.
Despite this, the vast number of attacks can be avoided through the application of simple common sense. Mr William G. Billington is not very likely to be the man to make you a millionaire for the paltry sum of $150, to be transferred ASAP. In particular, receiving calls or emails concerning tech support can be a tricky issue, given the willingness of some members of the public acquiesce. In a new announcement, this is what Microsoft have confirmed, with Courtney Gregoire, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit senior attorney stating,
"Know that neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls claiming that your PC has an issue(s), or has been infected with viruses that can be fixed for a hefty fee!”
This is in the wake of a rise in the number of tech support scams. Microsoft has received more than 65,000 customer complaints since May 2014 regarding this issue, as such users are advised to exercise caution in this area. Companies will never contact the end user with requests for personal information or credit card details, moreover they will never ask for control of your desktop, unless through official channels. Particularly with regards to phone calls, these will never be unsolicited.
If contacted by any service claiming to be Microsoft, representing Microsoft or approved by Microsoft, report them at: http://support.microsoft.com/reportascam.
As ever, and as stated earlier, the most reliable means by which to stay safe online is to exercise caution and common sense, don't always trust in the kindness of strangers. Have you been affected by cyber crime? Let us know in the comments below.