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Scammer on laptop

Case Study

How We intervened in a Microsoft Impersonation Scam

Background

A customer was deceived by a scammer posing as a Microsoft representative and found themselves locked out of their computer. Initially, they believed the scammer’s claim of identifying a computer issue and allowed remote access. However, the situation escalated when the scammer demanded payment for security products. Realising they had been scammed, the customer quickly ended the call and contacted us for help.

Security scam

Our Challenge

Upon receiving the customer’s urgent call, the primary challenge was to regain control of the locked computer without any prior data backups, risking significant data loss.

Solution and Recovery

Our immediate actions and the security measures we implemented

Our Immediate Actions

  • Machine Shutdown: We advised the customer to immediately shut down the computer to sever the scammer’s access.

  • Physical Inspection: We requested the customer to bring the computer to us so we can assess the machine in person

  •  Password Reset: We successfully reset the user account password.

  • Data Backup: Before proceeding with any further system changes, we backed up the entire contents of the machine.

  • System Reinstallation: We erased the hard drive and reinstalled the operating system to ensure no remnants of the scam remained.

  • Data Restoration: Using the backups, we restored the mission-critical data to the computer, ensuring the customer suffered minimal disruption.

The Security Measures We Implemented

We recommended the customer to reset all stored passwords, especially those saved in the browser, and advised them to contact their bank to monitor for any suspicious activity.

Additionally, we stressed the importance of enabling two-factor authentication on all possible platforms.

Conclusion

This incident underscores the vulnerability of individuals and businesses to sophisticated phishing and impersonation scams. It highlights the critical need for regular security training for all staff members to recognise fraudulent communications. Moreover, it reinforces the importance of maintaining regular backups of all critical data to ensure swift recovery in the event of security breaches.

 

cyber security

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