A man named Bishap Mittal from North Carolina who apparently operated a “tech support” scheme for four years pleaded guilty for the case of Conspiracy to Access A Protected Computer. This was due to a scamming scheme he perpetuated by his company, Capstone Technologies LLC with an unnamed business partner. The company’s business model is to buy adverts, mostly from Bing and Google, in order to increase their traffic for their site, once a visitor comes, their website will infect the visitor’s computer with malware using innocent-looking pop-up adverts. This malware is specially designed to produce messages very similar to Windows standard notification and dialog box formats.
The messages provided to the user by the notification is to seek help from “Microsoft” tech support by calling the “official” support hotline, the supposed phone number for Microsoft support is provided by the dialog box. Once the panicking user dials the number, he will be connected to a certain call center in India. The “tech support” operator pretends to be a genuine Microsoft support engineer, using a cleverly written script that will “social engineer” the victim into believing that the call is from a genuine Microsoft support hotline.
At the end of the support call, the poor victim will be charged for the tech support ticket, to the tune of $200 to $2,400. As per the confirmation of Bishap Mittal, his business operated from November 2014 to August 2018, while Capstone Technologies LLC also used other trade names such as: Reventus Technologies, MS Infotech, MS-Squad Technologies, Authenza Solutions LLC, United Technologies and MS-Squad.com.
“Pop-ups were a central part of the scheme, Individual 1 (Mittal) and others purchased blocks of malicious pop-ups from publishers around the world. When the pop-ups appeared on victims’ computers, they would render the machine temporarily inoperable under the guise of detecting a supposed systematic computer failure. Some of these pop-ups misrepresented that the computer failures had been identified and diagnosed by Microsoft Corporation – a misrepresentation that company technician reiterated during direct interactions with victims,” explained in the Bill of Information paper prepared by William Stetzer, U.S. Attorney.
The charge was filed last March 12, and Mittal pleaded guilty eight days later on March 20, 2019.