Monday, April 30, 2012

Of Scams & Serenity

The other day I had to answer the phone. Yes, my family makes the mute girl answer the phone. If it is someone we know then the caller understands they that I'll use a simple Tap-Tap code for responses or that they'll have to wait for Mom or my brother to pick up an extension. For businesses and such that don't know me I have one of those keychain voice memo recorders handy with "The person you have reached is Mute. Ask to use the TTY or please wait" ready to play. Often that earns a hangup, but that's okay as most calls to our house are in violation of the FCC Don't Call Registry policy. We report them but nothing much happens.

Enjoy a small repast in the tea house (SLurl). The region is filled with quite a few themed buildings, all marvelously crafted, to compliment the Asian-style Linden Homes near by. Each structure is a joy to explore.
But while you enjoy this photo essay of the rather serene Shareta Osumai Info Hub and Tea Garden, let me tell you about a couple of recent calls that were probably scammers trying to have me set up our computer for open access.

Many sights to see (SLurl) and Free Textures! Like all the Linden Home Infohubs, you can grab a copy of the texture set the Moles used to create the themed areas so you can coordinate your builds with your house. There are also tons of free items, like flowers, masks, foods, and more, in the Shareta buildings. Windlight: [TOR] MIDDAY - Anime Ciel
"Hello, I am from the technical company and we have traced an error to your Windows computer," the caller with a very heavy Indian accent started after what sounded like things being thrown in the background finished. I hung up. We don't have a Windows computer. Someone was trying to social engineer their way into our computer ala Kevin Mitnick (the famous "hacker" was more successful in asking for access when he hacked than in actually breaking encryption codes). That was a few days ago.

Venerate the moles! Whimsey is everywhere, as usual, when you are dealing with the LDPW (SLurl).
The same person called back today with the same opening so I turned on the speaker phone so my brother, CC, (who was sitting with me at the computer as I was taking these pictures of this extraordinary build on the Mainland) could take over. "How did you know I had a Windows computer?" CC asked. "Well, sir," the technician started, "we can see when you access the Internet what sort of computer you have and we can tell there is some data coming from your computer."

"Ah," CC replied sagely. "What should I do?"

"Turn on your computer, sir."

"Its already on."

"What applications do you have running, sir?"

"Safari," CC replied, referring to the Apple-branded Web browser, "and a dictionary app and Second Life." "Very good sir, could you please close them for me," was the response. CC sat back and I kept snapping away and going from place to place with Zyx Resident logged into SL.

Amazing, organic landscape, with all the flora and all the structures arranged in harmony (SLurl).
Windlight: [TOR] SUNSET - Oriental Delight 2
"Thank you, sir, now ..." and he described things to look for on the keyboard, including the Windows key that we didn't have "... then press the Windows key and the R key. What do you see?"

CC was trying hard to not laugh and trying to shush me, because my laugh is sort of a short bark and I would have been heard over the speaker phone. But he managed to control himself. "Nothing, different, actually. The problem is, I don't have a Windows key. And if you weren't so sucky at computer technology or actually had data showing what computer I have you'd know I'm on an Apple computer."

Stunning views everywhere you look (SLurl). The buildings are very functional, too. Most have seating for several people so if you wanted to have a group meeting somewhere unique, this would be a marvelous choice.
 Windlight: [TOR] SUNRISE - Barcelon 1
CC was on a roll, not giving the other party a chance to even breath. "If you did know anything about technology you'd have realized that I've held you on the line long enough to trace this call, find out where you are, who you are, what you are doing, and report you to the police and the FCC. Now if you could hold just a few more moments I'll have your personal information like where you live ..." then paused.

I can't stop taking pictures (SLurl). You can grab a ride in a mole-motivated rickshaw near by. Windlight: Amsterdam 
It was a good 15 to 20 seconds before there were more sounds of things being thrown on the other end of the line but CC said "Keep waiting, I'm almost done" and managed to scrape out another 10 seconds of dead air before there were grunts and the line disconnected.

A fitting end to this photo essay (SLurl). Windlight: Burn
Lesson One: You don't screw with my brother. He's not stupid and he knows people — people you don't want to know. While in this case there really was no trace on the line and no one is being told about the call, CC could contact various people to investigate if he had thought it was a serious risk to our personal safety.

Lesson Two: Beware of social engineering. It is easier to get someone to get your passwords from you than to guess it or break it. I can get away with amazing things because of my handicap because people just don't want to deal with me. Same with using my mother's wheelchair to get things done.

Lesson Three: Explore the Mainland. It is far more extraordinary than you would think and it is pretty risk-free.

2 comments:

angela seale said...

as the blogers lovely and talented wife, i feel i must tell you about this link, per the blogger's insistence..... (she threatened to make me sleep on the couch for a week)

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-security/telephone-calls-purportedly-from-microsoft/88444b3f-b3c6-40c4-bfdc-df6a41ab8fb5

Uccello Poultry said...

And after you posted your comment, Angela, you gave me this URL

http://pcrescue.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/latest-phone-scam-asian-cold-caller-trying-to-take-over-my-pc/

showing they've been at it for years.