Security Corner

Apr 28 2015   7:01PM GMT

I never thought it would happen to me

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

phone call

So, I was working away trying to recover some lost data for one of my students when my cell phone rang. It came up “Unknown” on the caller ID. I normally don’t answer calls I can’t identify, but I was irritated and frustrated and I answered it in hopes I’d have someone to launch a tirade against (I have been on every “Do Not Call” list with every phone number I’ve ever had, but it’s a useless regulation, since no telemarketing firm ever honors it. I usually give them an ear full and threaten all sorts of legal mayhem, but it rarely does any good).

“Hello, this is Ken.”

“Hello, Ken, I am calling about your computer.” (Heavy Indian/Pakistani accent)

“What?” (Pretending not to understand)

“Your computer.”


(A bit agitated, now) “We have been receiving many errors from your computer.”

I play along for a second, “Really? What kind of errors?”

“You have many system errors and viruses on your computer.”

“Oh, really? How are you getting these errors?”

“We monitor all computers for errors. We want to help you fix your computer.”

At this point, I lost my desire to play games “Look buddy, I’m a computer security expert and you are full of s… and a con artist.”

Before I even finished the sentence, I began hearing a stream of “F… you, F… you.” I told him if he called again, I would trace it and he hung up with one last expletive from me, this time.

In hindsight, I probably should have played along, let him into one of my spare laptops and recorded the session and his IP address so I could report it properly, but I was just too preoccupied with other matters.

If I get another call like this, I’ll do that. I just didn’t think it would ever happen to me.


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