Recently I wasn't paying attention and clicked something I shouldn't have. I got the Conduit virus on my Windows machine and it dug in deep.
It's a clever virus. Normal antivirus and malware products can't even see it. I lost a week of work. I've already warned my syndicate there might be a missing week of Dilbert unless I pull a rabbit out of the hat.
The virus generates a pop-up window pretending to be Microsoft. The message says you don't have an authentic version of Windows but if you call their number they will sell you one.
Before I continue, I did verify with Microsoft that the message is fake. Microsoft never tells you to call them. And they are aware of this scam. Their tech finally got it off my machine.
I called the scammers' phone number. They do an amazing imitation of a Microsoft call center. Apparently they studied Microsoft's actual processes and they trained good scam actors. I pretended to be an ignorant customer for a few minutes just to draw them out. A pleasant, Indian-sounding fellow patiently answered my questions.
Did I mention I was mad because I lost a week of productivity to these assholes?
I might have done some yelling. There might have been profanity. Okay, to be honest, I was foaming at the mouth and inventing insults that even impressed me. I screamed about his criminal ways, implored him to seek honest work or kill himself to make the world a better place. I told him to fuck himself seven different styles. And I was just getting started.
And he stayed on the phone, keeping in character to the scam, trying to calm me down like a real help desk person.
I even got him to put his "supervisor" on the line so I could insult his lineage, competence, and preferences for bestiality. He took it too. This was fun!
Then I told them they had 60 seconds to tell me how to remove their virus or I would publish their phone number in a natiional blog so everyone can call and insult them.
I started counting from 60 to zero, stopping occasionally to remind him how fucked he was. He sounded a bit worried but stayed in character.
So here you go: The scammers are at 1-866-530-6599. Please call them and pretend to be a customer so you waste their time before you go off on them. Be creative. Be mean. And please yell. It's a free pass. The number will change soon, I assume, so act quickly.
Just tell them you got a pop-up message saying you don't have an authentic version of Windows 7 and you want to know what to do.
It's a lot of fun. Let me know how it goes.
I also thought it would be useful to publish the phone number so search engines can find it in case anyone in the future wants to verify it as a scam.