Living in a rural area often makes us feel protected from many of the dangers that we see on the evening news. Unfortunately, the internet is has brought more than Netflix and Amazon Prime shipments to our living rooms. In the past, hackers have primarily depended on trojans (viruses hidden in email or links that attack systems when opened) to target victims. Sometimes they use scripts or programs ran on systems connected to fraudulent websites that users accidentally navigate to.
Recently, these groups have deployed a more personal touch. With the use of VOIP these groups can secure local numbers making you think that you receiving a call from a regional resident. Once online they will not be offering time shares or trips to Disney, instead they will be letting you know that your computer has a virus and they have called to fix it. I cannot believe that this method is affective but the fact is that many people have become victim to it. Some claim their Caller ID said DELL or HP or another well known computer company and they had bought a computer from, so they believed the caller and proceeded.
Once they have a victim on the hook they usually walk them through running event viewer in their Windows Run Command or send them to a website where they steal or hi-jack their browser and then infect their computer. One of the most common attacks of recent time is Ransomware. In short, once infected the program encrypts your files rather than stealing them. You login to your computer the next time and all your family photos and videos are gone, turned into unreadable files even if you are able to open look like a large sequence of numbers and letter. Left next to them is a little file containing a message that if you want them back you have to pay, pay fast and pay a large amount.
So... If you get an email that doesn't seem right. Or a call from a local number that you can't help but wonder why the caller has a weird accent for someone "from West TN". Well maybe it's just best to hang up. You might just miss out on that free trip to Mexico. Then again if you don't you could be just like the people that paid 18 Million in bitcoins in the last major Ransomware Attack.