A Message Not From Microsoft,

Wed, 2017/04/19 - 10:18am | Your editor
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Yesterday night we got a mystery message claiming that our computer was attacked by ROOT_TROJAN_HARDDRIVE_HIJACK.EXE. We were told to fill out a form giving our user name and password, and not turn the computer off, and to than call a toll-free number to talk to Microsoft, 1-888-920-0310. Without giving away our secrets I called the number and, surprise, surprise, the respondent had an Indian accent and admitted that the call was not going to Microsoft at all.

Because of the recent hack of my office system I was aware that Microsoft does not contact you to tell you about hijacks on your computers. This is a fraud or a scam. But the question remains: how did they get to drop this bomb onto our system, and get it to remain big and visible until I did exactly what the message said not to do, running our anti-virus software and then rebooting the computer?

The owner name for the toll-free number is not available and there doesn't seem to be any way to complain about the attempted fraud. 'Cortana' is singularly unhelpful although she works for Microsoft.


Among the risks of the 21st century, tech support scams and hoaxes allegedly from Microsoft (or from Google, the one I fell for last month) are scamsters claiming to be from established Internet companies but in fact operating from somewhere in India. This warning is posted as a help to the world. The problem with my having been hacked that still bothers me is that I was given the number to call by my cable company's tech support team for “roadrunner”, an email system I use. So the hack was by insiders at Time Warner Spectrum, which is particularly worrying.


On April 18 my broker finally mailed an updated 1099 to me which really doesn't help meet the April 17 deadline for filing with the IRS.


Today even Toshiba rose in Japan. Ditto for Honeywell International. Hope springs eternal.


However starting in European trading, IBM has been sold off on what Barron's calls “ugly Q1 margins”, despite higher profits and a continued rosy outlook for the rest of the year. It has taken down the Dow-Jones average which was supposed to recover today. Because of the way the DJIA is weighted, stocks which tend not to split are more heavily weighted than ones which did split.


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