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Reverse Social Engineering Tech Support Scammers

This post is authored by Jaime Filson and Dave Liebenberg.


A mosaic made up of 1-800 tech support scam websites

The amount of fraudulent actors masquerading as legitimate tech support has been on the rise since 2008. According to David Finn, executive director at the Microsoft Cybercrime Center, tech support scammers have made nearly $1.5 billion off of 3.3 million unwitting victims just this year. These scammers typically convince the victim into allowing them access to his/her computer through remote control applications such as TeamViewer. They then present benign processes as malicious, or at times even spread malware themselves. Afterwards, they charge hundreds of dollars for the service.

There are several avenues through which these scammers reach their victims. One of the most insidious are pop-ups and websites asserting that the user’s computer is riddled with viruses, and that the only way to fix the problem is to call a provided tech support number.

Talos has been monitoring the incessant creation of these fake tech support websites in order to better understand the way in which these scams operate. We decided to call a company ourselves for some reverse social engineering. Our experiment provided some interesting insights into the methods these scammers use to fool their victims as well as the infrastructure supporting their operations. In addition, we discovered a broad New Delhi-based scamming network employing multiple websites and VOIP phone numbers to carry out their duplicitous activities.


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The Channel Company Presents Annual Best of Breed Event in Orlando

I’m back! Back on the Cisco Partner Blog for the first time in a fe#BoB15 Orlandow months, and back in Florida for the first time in a few years. I spent the early part of this week in Orlando at the Best of Breed event. As the weather has shifted to distinctly more “fall-like” back in North Carolina, it was nice to head south for a few days and enjoy a few last gasps of summer.

More importantly, it has been an opportunity to meet numerous influential executives from within the industry. There were many Cisco Partners here at the event and to have the opportunity to speak with them about working with Cisco is always valued. In addition, it’s always interesting to hear their takes on the speakers and information coming out of the event, as the partners are truly the guys on the front line with customers every single day.

CRYou might have seen, from the ongoing coverage of Best of Breed, that our new CEO, Chuck Robbins, was here to deliver the keynote, which was done in an interview style with the CEO of The Channel Company.

Chuck fielded questions about the recent Dell-EMC deal, the Cisco partnership with Apple, and his basketball playing days. Be sure to check out the interview with Chuck and subsequent stories from CRN, including what he forecasts about Apple’s relationship with the channel.

I had several partners tell me this week how happy they were to see Chuck at the event and how it showed them consistent, ongoing commitment to the channel from Cisco. That is great feedback and we are indeed committed to our partners at Cisco. We do understand how important the channel is to our business.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – September 11, 2015


Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Verizon Partners with Cisco to Launch SD-WAN Managed Service

Verizon outlined plans on Tuesday to offer a Managed WAN service based on Cisco’s software-defined infrastructure.  Verizon is the first carrier to do so on Cisco’s platform.

The partnership is a big step in Verizon’s march toward fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless technology.  Cisco’s SVP, Kelly Ahuja, has more on what this means for the future.

As always, let us know what you think of the blog. Feedback from partners, especially around partner programs, is vital for Cisco to keep producing programs that work for all of us.

Good Reads

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – September 4, 2015


Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Cisco and Apple Announce Partnership

This week, at our yearly Global Sales Experience Conference (GSX) in Las Vegas, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, surprised everyone by joining John Chambers on stage to announce an exciting new partnership between Apple and Cisco.

The two companies are coming together to optimize Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps, integrating iPhones with Cisco environments and providing unique collaboration capabilities on iPhones and iPads.

Apple  Cisco Partnership

The big news expectedly created a lot of buzz, including this tweet from the Apple CEO:

Stay tuned for more details on how this will benefit our partners.  In the meantime, read what Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins had to say about combining the power of Cisco and Apple.

Karin Surber Asks if You’re Ready for a Fresh New Start

Karin always does a great job sharing sales tips and best practices for our partners. This week’s no different as she provides a clear path for partners to plan out their sales strategy for the year.

Karen lists 7 steps to optimize sales performance and achieve maximum Partner Plus incentives.  Take a moment to check out her full blog post as it’s sure to provide you with a head start for succeeding in FY16.

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Talos Identifies Multiple Memory Corruption Issues in Quicktime

Update 2015-08-21: This post has been updated to reflect an additional advisory released on August 20.

Talos, in conjunction with Apple’s security advisories issued on August 13 and August 20, has released six advisories for vulnerabilities that Talos found in Apple Quicktime. In accordance with our Vendor Vulnerability Reporting and Disclosure policy, these vulnerabilities have been reported to Apple and CERT.  This post serves as a summary for the advisories being released in coordination with Apple and CERT.

Ryan Pentney and Richard Johnson of Talos are credited with the discovery of these vulnerabilities.

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