sly : marketing

The Security Threat – I Might Be Paranoid

I have just talked to a person about a security threat to my windows server. He called me at my home, using the home number. He said my name, and he told me that I should get on the computer and log on to a website. He would show me the security threat.

I told him that I haven’t been using windows for close to 10 years, so it can’t be right. He said he was from Microsoft, and that I had a security threat on my windows server. He was repeating the same phrase over and over again. Please start your computer and I will show you what I’m talking about. No, I told him, I’m outside, I’m nowhere near my computer. He ended up telling me that I couldn’t be outside, because he had called me at my home number. When I told him that I have an ip-phone, he hung up on me.

I’m worried.

What happens now?

I’ve been watching too many movies; AntiTrust, the Matrix, Enemy of the state, Die Hard 4, and many more. I’m not easily scared, but when a person calls my home number, asks for me by my name, and starts telling me to, in English, that I need to log on to the Internet, because I have a security threat on my windows server. Well, it’s something I haven’t experienced before, and I’m worried.

On a different note.

My blog got hacked a while ago. I ended up paying for VaultPress to do backup of everything, and Sucuri to handle all the security threats on my blog. I might be paranoid, but I believe it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Have you experienced anything like this?



40 responses to “The Security Threat – I Might Be Paranoid”

  1. Adrienne says:

    Hey Jens,

    Actually, I was very worried about you today because your site has been down. I’m running a broken link checker at the moment and your URL is taking up almost all of this scan. So I went over to your site and it was down. It was down for hours so I was really worried that you did have another threat.

    I guess everything is up and running again and hopefully it was just your hosting account.

    Knock on wood I’ve never had this issue and I do have a lot of plug-ins on my blog to warrant against threats. I checked one of them last week and had over 130 different sites try to hack into my blog. Dang, what’s wrong with these people.

    Glad everything is okay and I would have been worried too. Who calls you out of nowhere and tells you you have a threat on a system you don’t use. Boy, they are really getting brave now.

    ~Adrienne

    • Hi Adrienne,

      I had no idea that my site has been down. I guess I’ve been too busy cleaning the house today, to see what’s been going on with my site πŸ™‚

      I’m just glad it’s up now. And I would love to stop worrying about security threats and the site being down. I’d love to focus on content, and not all the other stuff πŸ™‚

  2. Jack says:

    Hi Jens,

    I think a lot of these scammers use programs to locate telephone numbers. Then they call to see if they can scare people into paying them to help protect their sites/accounts.

    That is not to say that we shouldn’t be cautious but I am not always convinced that there is an imminent threat. Sometimes I think it is just them trying to make you think there is.

    • Hi Jack,

      Thank you so much. It’s comforting that you think that there’s not an imminent threat. I have never experienced something like this before, and when they guy asked for my name on the phone, and it wasn’t even my cell phone, I got a little upset.

  3. Technary says:

    Really a very annoying thing my friend. But thanks for sharing good thing about VaultPress and Sucuri.

    • I agree. I am not thinking about it at the moment, but I got a little upset yesterday… the first time I have received a phone call like that. I have had many threats online to my blog, but never via the phone πŸ™‚

  4. Ralph says:

    Jens, I agree with Jack.

    There are a lot of scammers out there. It’s easy to get someone’s phone number and if you are persistent and the person on the other end of the line is not experieinced they can coerce you into doing or buying something you don’t want. We always want to believe the world is a wondefult place but like anything there are trolls, jerks and misfits out there who make it their mission to give people a hard time.

    I suppose we all need to protect ourselves to the level where we are comfotable. Good to see you are ok and things are working. Have a great week!

    • Hi Ralph,

      I was really worried after the phone call. I have know a lot about the scammers online and I have been hacked several times, but I have never experienced a phone call like that πŸ™‚

      Have a great week.

  5. Devesh says:

    Good to see you’re blog is back and running up. I can understand how it feels when you got a call like that. It seems hackers are now trying different strategies.

    I never had any issues like that and I do have few plugins installed to check against security threats. I think the best way to be on safe side is to backup your site every day or may be every week. It can be easily done with the help of tools like VaultPress or Backup Buddy.

    -Dev

    • Hi Dev,

      I am using VaultPress, but I have been thinking of switching to Backup Buddy. Are you using it?

      Thanks a lot for your kind words πŸ™‚

      • Devesh says:

        Hi Jens,

        Yes, I’m using Backup Buddy Plugin and I don’t think I’m going to switch to any other backup solution anytime soon. And VaultPress is another great tool.

        Have a great weekend, bud.

        -Dev

  6. Bill Dorman says:

    You might want to check and see what @TheJackB’s alibi was during the time of the call.

    It’s a little disconcerting, but it’s probably a specifically random event and they are just moving down a line instead of zeroing in on you. Sounds like you are vigilant enough so I wouldn’t put too much into it. However, it might do you well to keep your antennae up so see if there are any other blips that might be occurring.

    Good luck…

    • Hey Bill,

      Always good to see you here sir. I don’t dare to check Jack’s alibi, he sounds rather scary from his voice πŸ™‚

      The phone call was scary, but I’m fine now… well, I wasn’t actually scared, but I was thinking that they might hack into my phone and charge me a lot of money for some adult service. And then my wife would get mad and blame me for it πŸ™‚

  7. Free Email says:

    I never experience like this, but your article will help in my way, great info .

  8. Sergio Felix says:

    Hey Jens,

    Like Bill said, I wouldn’t worry that much either. Our personal data is literally everywhere and we as bloggers are even more exposed than a regular internet user.

    About that call, just block that phone number and report it to your telephone provider.

    What you have been through is called “Social Engineering” and it’s the act in which the attacker tries to manipulate a victim to perform something specific by using confidential information.

    I don’t like to talk much about blog security because that’s purely hacker’s bait.

    Hackers CRAVE challenges because they satisfy their ego for knowledge, if somebody claims they have the most robust site in place or they could never be hacked, that’s asking for some real trouble.

    Hope this helps man.

    Sergio

    • Hi Sergio,

      I am not as worried right now, but I was when I talked to the guy on the phone. I couldn’t believe that he had my phone number and that he wanted me to log into a website. And when I said that I didn’t want to, he kept saying that I had to. Scary stuff. It’s like someone is trying to take the online world and going offline with it πŸ™‚

      Thanks.

  9. Jeevanjacobjohn says:

    That is creepy. But, you know these days it is easier to locate our personal data such as a phone number (especially with us, being bloggers).

    As far as security and back up, I use Cloudflare for security (And for CDN) and free backup tool to send me a backup via email twice a month (Maybe, I should increase that, but with me writing 1 post every week, I don’t think that is a big problem, unless I am hacked).

    Anyways, good to see you have fixed it all up!

    Jeevan Jacob John

  10. Ashvini says:

    Hey Jens,

    Sorry to hear about it . Do let me know if you are facing any trouble with your blog. My blog faced malware issue once. Send me a mail if you want me to check it out(if something is not working).

  11. Steve says:

    Wow,

    That is scary Jens. As I think most commentators concur, sounds like a definite scam to me. No one from “Microsoft” is ever going to call your home.

    The amount of information these guys can get is amazing, though. And very scary. Having had my Steve Scott blog hacked (about a year ago now) I know how much it really sucks. Like you I got a lot more security conscious after, and thankfully haven’t had an issue since then. (At least not on my main..one of my small niche sites got hacked recently…but I didn’t really want to work on that one anymore anyway)

    Anyhow, scary stuff, and hopefully a wake up call for people about internet security.

    • Hey Steve,

      Yes, it was definitively a scam. I got it from the first time he mentioned the windows server, and I knew that I didn’t have a windows server and when he said Microsoft, I wanted to hang up. But, on the other hand, I wanted some more information about what he was after πŸ™‚

      It was indeed a wake up call.

  12. Magento Developer says:

    I’ve had exactly the same thing, they ask you to open up a connection to them and then out a virus on your computer – they then charge you for removing it and purchasing their software – it’s disgraceful and these people should be pulled to court for this

    • That’s exactly what I thought they would do. I didn’t do anything other than talk to them, and hopefully that wasn’t enough for them to get access to anything πŸ™‚

      Thanks.

  13. Hitachi Wand says:

    It would have scared the hell out of me if I would have got that call. But as you said better to be safe than sorry. I did take the call seriously.

    • I got scared, but I’m a fairly calm person, so even though I did understand that this was a scammer that tried to force me into giving him information, I answered all his questions with the oposite of what he was looking for (at least, that’s what I tried) πŸ™‚

  14. Elizabeth Traub says:

    Hello Jens,
    Go to your Iphone and turn it on. Log on to a website that I tell you to. I want to show me a security threat. BOO!!!
    The only call I ever got was “Is your refrigerater running?” That kind of scared me, because I was only ten years old. Keeping alert and on top of a fast changing world is going to be scary at times. So far so good over here. Elizabeth

  15. Wendy says:

    I have just talked to a person about a security threat to my windows server. He called me at my home, using the home number. He said my name, and he told me that I should get on the computer and log on to a website. He would show me the security threat.

  16. Andreas Pazer says:

    I think a lot of these scammers use programs to locate telephone numbers. Then they call to see if they can scare people into paying them to help protect their sites/accounts.

    That is not to say that we shouldn’t be cautious but I am not always convinced that there is an imminent threat. Sometimes I think it is just them trying to make you think there is.

    • You’re probably right. But, it’s the first time for me. And it was different, because I live in Norway, and it’s probably one of the first times I’ve ever had a person call me on my home phone number and talk English. I would think that it would be a lot easier to scam people if they called people who actually talked English? πŸ™‚

  17. Carol Lynn says:

    This most certainly is someone who got hold of your phone number (probably simple to do) and tried to scam you into giving them information or access.

    I have a policy of NEVER answering questions or giving information over the phone. I always tell someone to email or send me a letter. Another thing I will do if I think it’s a legitimate call, is ask the person for a call-back number so I can get back to them. If they refuse, that’s a good indication they’re not legitimate. Even if you think a call is legitimate, don’t answer questions. Sometimes I may get a call from a bank or credit card and it’s perfectly legitimate but still I want to call someone back, or go to their website to handle the issue. Also, don’t make excuses or talk to them – in fact, telling them you’re on an IP phone is unnecessary. Don’t go on the defensive, you are not on trial and you don’t have to offer any reason or excuse for what you do.

    I totally understand the creepy factor but people try every day to scam other people. He would probably have tried to send you to a phishing site.

    It’s definitely a good idea to keep your blog backed up, for protection from hackers or just hardware failure or data loss. And sometimes switch up your passwords so even if someone has a password, they won’t have it forever. And finally… as for passwords, I know it’s a pain to remember different passwords but try to have different passwords for different sites. Otherwise, if someone gets your password, they could potentially log into all your accounts.

    • Yes, it’s probably easy to locate my phone number, and the whole scam was really stupid. But I understand why people will do what he said. Most people don’t understand that he was calling just to scam them, and they would have believed that they had a security threat on the windows server. Most people don’t know what a server is πŸ™‚

      I don’t give out information via the phone either, and I almost never buy anything on the phone. I always want things in writing. And for my passwords, the last time I was hacked, I ended up creating new passwords for all my sites and services, and I had to write them all down since they’re completely impossible to remember πŸ™‚

      • Amy Turner says:

        Hello Jens, It’s pretty scary (for me), having a phone call like that, and knowing he’s trying to scam you. If it was me, I’d have a change of phone number, since it feels like my private chambers have been accessed by a thief or evil person.

  18. Nicholle Olores says:

    Hi Jens, I never been experienced like what you had experienced. Security Threat is a serious thing and I think I have to reduce watching movies online just like you to prevent from this kind of happening.

  19. Shelly Cooke says:

    Ha, very meaningful post as always, Jens! I first read about the security threat thing from you. I just added your site to my favorites so I can read more in the outlook… Please continue your wonderful work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe: rss | email | twitter | +