Tech Support Scammers Taking Advantage of Call Optimization Services

Today’s topics include Symantec warning of increasingly sophisticated tech support scams, and Google warning enterprises of potential attacks on G Suite accounts.

Symantec issued a report on Aug. 3 revealing that technical support fraud scammers are using call optimization services to improve their results.

According to Vikram Thakur, technical director at Symantec, "We were surprised to see scammers use legitimate optimization services for a couple reasons. First, it indicates the size of a specific scammer's operation spanning hired individuals in multiple countries; and second, it shows the scammer's brazen attitude toward using legitimate software platforms even though such vendors can be approached by legal entities."

While organizations have recognized the advantages of using call optimization services to improve their business, scammers are now also finding benefits to using the same services, like being able to inject a local number into malware alerts, tracking calls and receiving call analytics.

Tech support scams come in multiple forms, including malware advertising where an ad shows up on a user's screen warning that they have been infected with malware and need to call a certain number to get help.

Google has added a new feature in G Suite that triggers an email alert to enterprise customers any time Google's threat-detection system detects activity that might be related to a government-backed cyber-attack on users’ computers or accounts. The feature is entirely optional, and administrators can choose to disable it or set it to send default notifications to specified users in their organization.

Examples of suspicious activity include a Google account user receiving phishing emails or messages with particular types of malicious attachments or with links directing them to a malicious website designed to steal their passwords.

Google's recommended actions for administrators include resetting user account passwords and adding a second factor to authenticate users.