back to article Support scammers target Mac fanbois

Support scammers who have been targeting Windows users for years and, more recently, users of Apple’s mobile devices and Android tablets and smartphones, have moved on to targeting desktop Macs more aggressively than ever before. The basic set-up is the same: fraudsters seek to badger users into paying for useless remote …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This must mean...

    That the number of MAC users has become significant...

    But... Apple is 1) Doomed, 2) Irrelevant 3) Evil/Satan

    Everyone runs Windows right or is this fnally the year of the Linux Desktop?

    1. BlartVersenwaldIII
      Headmaster

      Re: This must mean...

      I think you'll find the overwhelming majority of people on the internet have at least one MAC.

    2. Fungus Bob
      Devil

      Re: is this fnally the year of the Linux Desktop?

      I think this is the Year of Mobile on the Desktop....

  2. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Nope, it means that crooks have discovered fanbois are rich and stupid. You never get them phoning up and asking to fix your Linux box because if you run LInux you're poor but clever (speaking for myself of course!!!).

    1. Amorous Cowherder
      Happy

      If you run Linux....

      ...we're just plain tight bugger and thus pointless trying to get blood out of stone! Ha ha!

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: If you run Linux....

        Actually, I think nix users are a bit more educated (unless you set up for your dad) about how their system works. And therefore can easily spot something fishy.

        1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip
          Linux

          Re: If you run Linux....

          You play along and confuse the hell out of them. When their script asks you to describe the key second to the left of the space bar, tell them it has a penguin on it. Last time they called back three times before the penny dropped.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: If you run Linux....

        > ...we're just plain tight buggers

        How about if we run Linux (5), Windows (3) *and* OS X (2)?

        Or does that just make us terminally confused?

        1. Fungus Bob

          Re: If you run Linux....

          Depends on which terminal emulator you're using.

  3. smudge
    Windows

    Should have made it harder for them

    Crooks have registered a domain called ara-apple.com that closely resembles the legitimate Apple locale (ara.apple.com)

    Would have expected Apple to register a number of domain names which closely resemble the correct name...

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Should have made it harder for them

      Would have expected Apple to register a number of domain names which closely resemble the correct name...

      That would be a never ending effort, certainly now the number of TLDs has gone up.

    2. Quortney Fortensplibe

      Just Stop Using Sub-Domains

      Yes. Well done! It was a very clever trick, back in the 1990s —showing you knew how to set up a sub-domain and it made your spare bed-room-based website look like a big mega-corporation, with all departments and everything.

      But sub-domains are a needless pain in the arse for navigation and leave your site wide open to address spoofing. So just don't. OK?

      [i'm also looking at you here, El Reg!]

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Just Stop Using Sub-Domains

        Nice rant but it omits one small detail. ara.apple.com isn't a subdomain. It's a host address. Try pinging it.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Just Stop Using Sub-Domains

          > ara.apple.com isn't a subdomain. It's a host address

          *Ding* *Ding* *Ding* *Ding* *Ding* (clang).

          I've taked myself blue in the face (as well as shirt) trying to explain the difference to the meeja types here.. Especially when they log calls saying "can we have a new DNS subdomain" (which confuses our ISP) when they actually want a new hostname..

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Oh, Ohh OOhhhh, oooh pick me! Pick me!!

    I look forward to the day one of these guys calls my house. I can fire up any number of versions of OSX. I'm pretty sure there is still an old 10.2.8 installation on a Clamshell iBook somewhere that I can't get AppleRremoteDesktop to connect...

    Then I give the phone to my 5yr old ;-}

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Oh, Ohh OOhhhh, oooh pick me! Pick me!!

      I've recently had some success in enticing SEO spammers into an exchange of emails but as I've no website to offer them I've not succeeded in wasting too much of their time so far. I'm tempted to work out some complex phraseology that means "don't click this" when analysed carefully but at first glance seems to say the opposite and then drop in a link from whatever phishing scam has turned up recently.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh, Ohh OOhhhh, oooh pick me! Pick me!!

        Ah - if they would only run Explorer. As far as I know there is no other browser that allows "window.showModalDialog()" instructions that you could use to drop 500 modal windows on their screen that ALL need acknowledgement before the browser will react to anything else.

        I am toying with keeping an airhorn around, start talking softer and softer so they'll have to amp up, and then blast their ear drums.

        No, I don't like these people much, why? Does it show?

  5. djstardust

    Linux ....

    Why does every discussion on here divert to Linux in the first few posts when it's not relevant to the article?

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Linux ....

      Because this is the year of the linux desktop, apparently.

      Next year it will be the year of the smartwatch,

      followed by the year of

      - the home laminating machine

      - the mainframe

      - the android

      - the iThing

      - the DOS and it's spawn

      - the Big Blue Thing

      - the Babel Fish

      - the machine code

      - the AI breakthrough

      - the shared printer

      And then it all starts over again.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Elf
          Go

          Re: Linux ....

          I used to know a woman who was born in the year of the VAX...

          Temperamental, expensive, very large, and power hungry would seem to apply to that particular Siliconological Sign. Sound about right?

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
            Happy

            Re: Linux ....

            I was born in the year of OS/2.

            But I'm just warped...

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: Linux ....

              > I was born in the year of OS/2.

              Now you have just made me feel old. I was already working when OS/2 came out (and I had to support it - which veered from "simple" to "what the hell were IBM/MS *thinking* when they made it work like that?")

              1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                Re: Linux ....

                Don't worry, I'm far more crusty than that. I was born in the decade of flares, brown Austin Allegros and Roger Whittaker children's LPs. Which I was reminded of only yesterday when I found 'I can see a nasty spider' on Youtube.

                So the year of the bug perhaps.

              2. Col_Panek

                Re: Linux ....

                I was born in the year of the transistor, and despite not being able to remember bash syntax, I run several Linux distros.

                And I put Zorin on my dad's machine, because I got tired of his support calls. Now he doesn't call at all.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        the year of the machine code

        I've read this as "the machete code" and got very excited for a moment.

    2. The_Idiot

      Re: Linux ....

      Because Godwin's Law is well known and accepted, but so far OSwin's Law (whoever initiates a 'XXXXX OS is better than YYYYY OS' first in a non-directly relevant way is considered to have lost the argument) hasn't got as much traction yet :-(.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Linux ....

        Oswin?

        That takes me back in time... but no matter. You'd better learn the lesson or end up in The Asylum baking endless soufflé.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Linux ....

        > OSwin's Law

        Is it 650 AD again already?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oswin

        :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux ....

      Because they are the noisy vocal minority.

      Disclaimer I have a Linux box....and a Windows one...and I quite like Mac's, but can't justify buying one.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Linux ....

          > lack of respect for the BSD

          Oooh! I knew I forgot one from my list of machines earlier. I have a FreeBSD box too. Was going to replace my linux box doing webby-servery stuff with it but ran into a whole set of Can'tBeBothereds[1] trying to duplicate the functionality I have in Apache in nginx on the BSD box.

          At some point I'll probably just migrate over the apache websites to apache on *BSD and finally deep-six the web box (Ubuntu that has migrated versions multiple times - its first incarnation was about 13 years ago..)

          [1] Both from developers and me..

      2. chivo243 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Linux ....

        @Lost all faith...

        I have 2 winboxen, one hp with a linux install and some (too many) macs, they are all second hand and donated to me. I don't own anything super new, I leave that to my employer to provide, which they do.

        I think the linux guys are the salesmen for a free product. ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          Re: Linux ....

          second hand , no they are 'pre loved'!!!

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. MyffyW Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Linux ....

      @djstardust Why does every discussion on here divert to Linux

      Well let's be honest hun, a tech site is bound to self-select the sort of contrarians who use Linux. I speak as a debian-devotee.

  6. badger31

    Not had a Mac call yet

    but the Windows ones are fun.

    Them - Hi, I'm from Microsoft, and we have detected a problem with your Windows computer ...

    Me - I don't have a Windows computer (lie)

    Then - Oh. But we have detected an infection on your computer. If you click on the start menu ...

    Me. I don't have a start menu. I don't have a Windows computer.

    Them - Oh. But we have received reports of your IP address being used ...

    Me - Really? What IP address is that, then?

    Them - Erm.

    Me - Goodbye.

    The Mac ones would be even more fun. What's my name? What's my Apple ID? Which version of OSX am I running? Etc. I guess I'm not their target.

    I could just sit here feeling smug, but I know people who have fallen for these scare tactics and it makes me mad.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Not had a Mac call yet

      I know a guy in his 70s who fell for it, and the only thing that saved him from computer doom was not knowing his Apple password.

      What's most annoying is that I'm around to fix all his technology problems. So why the hell he'd talk random bastards he doesn't know who want paying to fix problems I'll do for a cup of tea or some fish and chips...

      He lives a street away from an excellent chippy. My tech support is always available for people with those kinds of advantages.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've seen a different one show up a few days ago

    A surfing teenager of one of my friends suddenly got a message about a porn virus on her screen, as far as I can see probably via malvertising as it came up as https://storage/googleapis.com, in which she was told she had a "porn virus" that was trying to steal passwords, and she should immediately call the "network and Security department" at an 0800 number I won't repeat here because its against forum rules.

    I haven't been there yet to secure that computer so I don't know what vector was used, but thankfully the kid was smart enough to alert her parents, who were straight on the phone to me. I'll have to clean up that box, but these things can be made a lot less effective by awareness. This is the sort of stuff where all the scare campaigns about Internet threats to flog people security products actually play right into the hands of the criminals.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Editorial Bias

    In a previous post somewhere, I winged about editorial bias.

    Now this is not very scientific but, Google searches on the register results in

    mac fanbois About 1,810 results (0.81 seconds)

    windows fanbois About 157 results (0.54 seconds)

    linux fanbois About 611 results (0.78 seconds)

    Hum

    1. dogged

      Re: Editorial Bias

      The problem is your search for "fanboi", the iSpelling being relevant to Apple Cultists.

      "Linux fanboys" might return more results and Windows doesn't really have any fanboys in the same way that toothbrushes don't. You use it to do a job, you move on. No emotional attachment required.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Editorial Bias

        Ok good point

        Mac Fanbois About 2,150 results (0.74 seconds)

        Mac Fanboys About 707 results (0.56 seconds)

        Apple Fanbois About 1,540 results (0.43 seconds)

        Apple Fanboys About 1,800 results (0.57 seconds)

        Linux Fanboys About 387 results (0.51 seconds)

        Windows Fanboys About 126 results (0.52 seconds)

        Toothbrush About 792 results (0.55 seconds)

        1. PNGuinn
          Linux

          Re: Editorial Bias

          Did you try iToothbrush?

          Do fanbois ever clean their iteeth?

          How do penguinistas clean their gnubeaks?

          Does anyone b****y care?

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Gis Bun

    Registrars and hosting sites should immediately ban whomever registered or requested server space. The registrars and hosting sites should also notify others.

    That said, shouldn't GoDaddy notice something was suspicious just with the domain name? It's like registering the web site Microssoft.com

    1. PNGuinn
      Joke

      @ Gis Bun

      GoDaddy??

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Borg.King
    Boffin

    Them: How much RAM is on your computer?

    Me: 38911 BASIC BYTES FREE

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Them: How much RAM is on your computer?

      > Me: 38911 BASIC BYTES FREE

      Spectrum?

      (eee. Used t'dream of having that much memory. Let alone free..)

  12. Quortney Fortensplibe

    I Would have thought...

    ...it was obvious they weren't genuine Apple Support people, given they seem to have been offering to actually fix things, rather than spouting inane 'feel-your-pain' ineffectualities:

    http://stiobhart.net/2015-10-07-cult-of-personality

  13. Slx

    It's easy to tell they're not real Apple employees. Ask them how they feel about the upcoming Windows Watch that you've just preordered.

    If they react non smugly, immediately rip your internet connection directly out of the wall for absolute safety!

  14. Col_Panek

    Trolling the scammers

    "Wait a minute, I have to boot it up. It takes a long time, so stay on the line." Put phone down.

    5 minutes later: "It's still booting. Must have a virus, like you said."

    Go to loo with phone, hold near bowl whilst you micturate and/or defectate. "Still booting.... OK what do I do now?"

    "Wait a minute while I get my credit card."

    5 minutes later: "Oh, I forgot to tell you, I run Linux."

    "Yes, well, let me know when your software supports Linux. Have a nice rest of the day. I hope other people don't waste so much of your valuable time."

    The key item here is that the more time you keep them on the line, the less innocent suckers will be rung up.

  15. This post has been deleted by a moderator

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