Tricky Technicians and Cybersecurity

How scammers can trick you into downloading malware onto your own computer.

You may have been taught before about viruses that can harm your computer. It’s easy to assume that everyone who appears harmful can’t be trusted. Unfortunately, there are also people out there who pretend to help you with your computer, but actually do damage instead!

These people typically have one goal; to make you feel afraid that something bad will happen if you don’t do something. What makes these attacks horrible is that there’s nothing bad with your computer; in fact, if you let them have their way, they can inflict damage.

One way you’ll see them act is on the internet. If you visit particularly shady sites, they may show you advertisements and pop-up windows claiming your computer has a virus. This is not true, though! These are set up to get you to panic and click the ad. The ad takes you to a site where you can download “antivirus software” to fix the “problems” that were detected. Don’t be fooled; this software is very malicious.

If you’re worried about your computer’s health, it’s best to download a trusted antivirus software instead of listening to advertisements. Some of the best antiviruses out there are free and easy to install. Take a peek at them and see which one you’d like best.

You may also receive calls by technicians who claim to work for Microsoft and want to get access to your computer. It may sound official and fancy, but don’t be fooled; it’s likely a scam. A Microsoft employee will never call you without you phoning them first.

Also, be on the lookout for any suspicious emails coming in. Some emails will claim your PC has had a security breach and requires a program to clean it up. It will then contain a link to software you can download to fix this “problem.” Again, there’s no way someone can tell your PC has a virus over email! Simply delete this message and don’t think about it anymore.

Similarly, some scammers on online videogames like to pose as official moderators or developers of the game. They’ll message you claiming that something is wrong with your account, and will ask for your username and password so they can fix it. Someone who runs an online game will never ask you for your password, so always assume the asker is a scammer, no matter how believable they are.

It’s very saddening that the internet is full of these kinds of people that use people’s fear to get them to do things. This is why it’s very important to be critical of everything you see online. By keeping your wits sharp and thinking things through before obeying instructions given to you, you can keep your accounts and computer perfectly safe.

The next time you, or someone you know, come across a suspicious-looking warning, be sure to take initiative and ensure that nobody takes the bait. As long as you have a proper antivirus set up and running, you can safely ignore any scam trying to convince you otherwise!

Learn More

Protect Yourself from Tech Support Scams

Here’s What to do if you see a fake virus alert

Best Free Antivirus Software 2019,review-6003.html


  • Simon Batt

    Simon Batt is a UK-based tech enthusiast and all-around geek. His favourite things are cups of tea, cats, and new gadgets, even though they never mix well.

Also In The October 2019 Issue

Bring out your virtual carving knives — it’s time to give your digital pumpkins some spooky faces!

30+ ideas for STEAM-theme gifts for kids of all ages!

Teach kids basic coding skills by letting them program Botley to zoom around the room, draw shapes, and even avoid obstacles!

How 3D printing could help us get to Mars, and create new tools, homes, spacecrafts — even organs!

No discussion of design is complete without the history of lorem ipsum. It's more than placeholder text you stuff into a visual design.

"Hello World!" is one of the first programs you learn how to code. Here's the phrase in 4 languages with links to 100 more examples.

Learn the delicious-sounding secrets that websites use to keep your passwords safe from hackers.

A simple, quirky theorem with big applications, from picking socks to counting hairs.

Are you ready to create your virtual own solar system? With a little Python code and a little math, the sky’s the limit!

Learn some of the tricks game developers use to simulate an extra dimension.

How scammers can trick you into downloading malware onto your own computer.

There are pros and cons to networking all the “smart” devices in your home. What surprises does the future hold?

Sometimes, even the most dynamic languages need to classify and check data. Now, you can add your own types to any language!

Is it possible to steal software? And how do we know who owns code?

Check out this nifty feature that helps programs distinguish between variables with different scopes.

Create a simple electronic game with CircuitPython and Adafruit, and test your reflexes against friends and family!

Links from the bottom of all the October 2019 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

Interested but not ready to subscribe? Sign-up for our free monthly email newsletter with curated site content and a new issue email announcement that we send every two months.

No, thanks!