Support scams that plagued Windows users for years now target Mac customers
Swindlers impersonate Apple service that remotely accesses user desktops.
For years, scammers claiming that they’re “calling from Windows” have dialed up Microsoft customers and done their best to trick them into parting with their money or installing malicious wares. Now, the swindlers are turning their sights on Mac users.
Researchers at antivirus provider Malwarebytes spotted a Web-based campaign that attempts to trick OS X and iOS users into thinking there’s something wrong with their devices. The ruse starts with a pop-up window that’s designed to look like an official OS notification. “Critical Security Warning!” it says. “Your Device (iPad, iPod, iPhone) is infected with a malicious adward [sic] attack.” It goes on to provide a phone number people can call to receive tech support.
The site ara-apple.com is designed to masquerade as https://ara.apple.com/, Apple’s official remote technical support page. People who are experiencing problems with their Macs can go there to get an official Apple tech support provider to remotely access the person’s computer desktop. Ara-apple provides links to the remote programs the supposed technician will use to log in to targets’ Macs.
These types of scams have long preyed on Windows users and generated as much as $4 million in annual revenue for just one of the many players. Given the runaway success of the Mac platform over the past decade, it was inevitable that the scam would morph to include Apple customers. It wouldn’t be surprising if scammers are also cold-calling Mac users and pretending to be from Macintosh the way they’ve been dialing up Microsoft customers and claiming to be from Windows. And since some percentage of the Apple user base is almost sure to fall for the scams, they’re likely to be highly profitable, too.