Hacked Gadgets Forum

November 23, 2011

Hacked Gadgets corners Scammers called Global IT and Global PC Protection – Part 2

at 10:31 am. Filed under Funny Hacks

global_pc_protection_are_scammers_2


If you haven’t seen part 1 you should watch some of that video to get caught up.

This is part 2 of Hacked Gadgets following the techniques that computer scammers called Global PC Protection use. Part 1 was called Hacked Gadgets has fun with Computer Scammer called Global IT because at that point they were just calling themselves Global IT but through this investigation they revealed their main website. Their main website is www.globalpcprotection.com.

I have done some research and found out that this organization has been at it for quite a while. When there is enough awareness about their scam they change their name. Their last business name was Consult PC ExpertsΒ  (www.consultpcexperts.com). If you have a look at the web site screen shots below you can still see lots of references to the old Consult PC Experts site. On a side note I was looking for site registration information for the old domain and guess what, the domain name expired 2 months ago and was never renewed. I wonder who could be the new owner of consultpcexperts.com. πŸ™‚

To keep my equipment safe I have setup a VM (virtual machine), this VM has no way to interact with any of the computers on my network so they can mess around all they want in this sandbox and are not able to do any harm. The VM is just an image I had handy, it is a very old virgin install of Window XP which works fine but is old. What they should have immediately done is spot this and install the hundreds of Windows updates that this system needs. During their playing many pieces of software don’t install, I believe that this is because this is an old version of Windows XP (pre SP2).

I am using some test credit card numbers from a coding site, these credit card numbers would normally be used when testing credit card validation scripts. The numbers on the site are random valid numbers based on the Luhn formula.

At the beginning I was just going to have a short bit of fun with these jokers but they didn’t catch any of the blatant clues I left for them. I changed the DNS server setting to Open DNS, the first time they asked me for my credit card details they took me to a payment page on swreg.org which is a legitimate payment site. I configured Open DNS to block swreg.org, when blocked it would display their phone number as the technical assistance phone number and their company name in logo form. It wasn’t their real logo though as I didn’t know about their real website at that point. I thought as soon as they saw this they would have some choice words and that would be the end.

As it turned out they were not very swift and just kept the payment carrot laser focused as their main goal.

When they took me to another payment site I also entered that domain into Open DNS block list but it takes 10 or 15 minutes for a block to take effect so it worked for a long time before it also got blocked.

The names I have been given by the agents are: Sam, Jack Morris, David Smith, Alex Murphy, Jason, James Parker.
Their phone numbers are: 646-867-3751Β  , Β  718-593-4198Β Β  ,Β Β  07 – 3040 – 0210
The service email address they use is: support@globalpcprotection.com


Update (December 8, 2011): See part 3 where they made a fresh cold call.


Video Timeline

  • 0:00:00 – 0:08:14Β  Introduction
  • 0:08:15 – 0:27:00Β  They log onto my computer and attempt to load the payment page which I have blocked.
  • 0:27:01 – 0:32:19Β  They attempt to load Google Chrome to load their payment page. Failed because of missing updates.
  • 0:40:10 – 0:59:00Β  They load a new payment page to attempt to get their payment.
  • 0:59:20 – 1:00:30 Β  They say that they are having some problems with their main server and will fix the computer today and collect payment tomorrow!
  • 01:01:00 –Β  01:10:00Β  A system restore point is made, they clear some cache, turn off logging of their famous errors and warnings, run the disk cleanup utility, add some junk icons to the desktop, attempt to install antivirus but can’t since Windows needs updating. They install Registry Easy and clean the registry on my fresh VM.
  • 1:10:55 – 1:13:25Β  They return to the second payment website and now the Open DNS block has kicked in so it is also blocked. πŸ™‚
  • 1:16:05 – 1:53:00Β  They try to fix cause of their payment sites being blocked.
  • 1:53:46 –Β  1:56:50Β  They load up their third payment site which isn’t blocked.
  • 2:04:30 – 2:05:30Β  Failed attempt to install another AV program.
  • 2:30:20 – 2:42:05Β  Poking around changing security settings. Taking another crack at installing AVG.
  • 2:46:10 – 2:47:00Β  They finally figured out how to remove the DNS entry that is doing the blocking. I wish I could have made the DNS change in my router but because of my digital TV service I need to keep it the way it is.
  • 2:50:00 – 3:07:50Β  They have me fill out the main payment form so they can get paid. When that fails they provide me with wire transfer instructions.
  • 3:11:30 – 3:13:10Β  More failed attempts at installing some AV software.
  • 3:19:09 – 3:24:48Β  They attempt to “Upgrade the computer to Windows 8” by installing a skin pack. If this worked it would make the XP installation look similar Windows 8. πŸ™‚
  • 3:24:52 – 3:29:30Β  The skin pack did something that corrupted this old version of XP. It is now stuck in an endless boot loop. He calls me at 3:25:55 and obviously doesn’t know how to troubleshoot the state of my computer. He said he will call back but instead goes home.
  • 3:29:50 – 3:33:10Β  A new technician Jason calls back but doesn’t know about my looping boot issue. He just wants me to walk me through the payment procedure… He eventually just hangs up
  • 3:33:20 – 3:44:40Β  This is the funniest call ever, it’s after hours and it seems like there is just one drunk guy manning the phones. After he hangs up I get him again at 3:37:02
  • 3:44:41 – 4:42:00Β  Call after I have had my boot issue resolved (I copied a new copy of the VM file which takes about 1 minute). I fill out their payment form again. I pretend to call the bank to see why my card doesn’t work for online purchases, of course since this is the weekend the fake bank needs me to go to my branch when it opens on Monday.
  • 4:42:01 – 5:15:30Β  They go over a new support icon that has been installed and install a bunch of software again since my OS is virgin again. πŸ™‚
  • 5:16:12 – 5:56:30Β  They call a few days later to get the payment now that I had a chance to see the bank. I just give them a hard time since they have already done the work. I poke holes in some of the claims they make. I make them explain some of the things like how I can get unlimited free movies, games and software as soon I renew the maintenance warranty.
  • 5:56:31 – 6:16:28Β  I finally show him the part 1 Hacked Gadgets article, at 6:01:45 I tell them that this is my site, his reaction is priceless.










Intro to Electronic Schematics

at 7:08 am. Filed under Educational, Electronic Hacks


Collin Cunningham from Make gives a good introduction to what an electronic schematic is and how to properly read them. You can read more about schematics here, to see lots of practical examples this is a good start.

“Schematics are the functional diagram of electronic circuits. With so many designs available on the web, understanding how to read schematics can unlock a world of possibilities for the electronics maker”


November 22, 2011

Bipedal Cycling Robot

at 11:09 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment

bipedal-cycling-robot


You might remember the pictures and video I shot of muRata Boy and Girl at CES earlier this year.Β  If you liked those robots you will love the robot that Masahiko Yamaguchi built. This Bipedal Cycling Robot is quite small but when it comes to robotics small is usually more challenging. This tiny robot drives the bike just like a human does! Watch the video below to be blown away.

Thanks for the tip Erik.

“This robot system consists of a commercially available two-legged robot and a bicycle made by Yamaguchi. To detect how much the robot is tilting, the TAG201 gyro from Tamagawa Seiki is used. Based on the tilt data, a method called PID control is used to control the robot’s balancing motion.”



November 21, 2011

DIY Segway

at 10:13 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

diy-segway_3


This DIY Segway actually outperforms the real Segway in top speed. You can see a an automatic English translated version here, as you can see from the quote below the Google English translation is not bad but not perfect. The software was written in Bascom and assembler. I didn’t realize that the original Segway cost 100 million to develop, the 2000 pound build cost for this one seems like a bargain considering that. The two 1000W motors make sure there is power to spare when driving around.

Thanks for the tip Daniel.

2 motor controller with Atmega 168/10Mhz and a main control unit with an Atmega 644/20Mhz. In addition, a display of the speedometer and Display3000 data logger. Acceleration Sensor: ADXL335, gyros: LISY300AL (ArduIMU Sensor Board – Six Degrees of Freedom) The entire electronic system was kept very simple. (For more hats not enough) But this has the advantage that no special Spezialkentnisse are required. Who schonmal made a board with an iron to get even that.


November 20, 2011

Geeky Odometer

at 10:36 pm. Filed under Funny Hacks

geeky-odometer


A friend of mine took this picture of his Geeky Odometer. Take a close look to see what makes it geeky. πŸ™‚


How to Connect Multiple Switches to one Microcontroller Pin

at 10:02 am. Filed under Electronic Hacks

how-to-connect-multiple-switches-to-one-microcontroller-pin


When using microcontrollers you would normally connect one button to one input. What to do if you are running out of inputs and still have a bunch of buttons to monitor? This clever trick uses the analog input that many microcontrollers have available to monitor the buttons on a single input by having them put a different voltage on the pin based on which one is pressed.

Via: Electronics Lab

“The theory of connecting multiple switches on a single ADC input channel is very simple. One end of each switch is connected to the power supply voltage through an individual pull-up resistor, whereas the other end is grounded through a common resistor. When a switch is pressed, it creates a voltage divider network between the power supply and ground terminals. The value of the divided voltage can be made unique for all four switches by selecting different values of pull-up resistors. The voltage is then measured with the ADC to determine which switch has been pressed.”


how-to-connect-multiple-switches-to-one-microcontroller-pin

Name the Thing Contest – 192

at 5:25 am. Filed under Contests

guess_this_192

 

The prize this week is a nice aluminum flashlight, just what you need when you are running your network cables between tents when you are camping at night. This contest will run for one week (November 20 – 25, 2011). Ending time is based on central standard time. To enter, identify the item above and what it can be used for.

Please do not give the answer in the comments.

Send an email to contest @ hackedgadgets.com with “Name the Thing Contest” as the subject, and the message body consisting of:

  • The name of the item in the above picture
  • An example of what the item pictured above can be used for

The winner will be chosen at random from all of the correct entries.

———————————–———-

Added December 27, 2011

The item to guess was a Mevo Aflomac Fog Machine Fog-R250

The winner is Zachary A. (there were 116 entries)

————————————–———-

Below is a picture of the prize.

sipik-flashlight_2

 

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