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Exposed: Repair Shops Hack Your Laptops

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posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 02:27 AM
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Exposed: Repair Shops Hack Your Laptops


news.sky.com

Some computer repair shops are illegally accessing personal data on customers' hard drives - and even trying to hack their bank accounts, a Sky News investigation has found.

In one case, passwords, log-in details and holiday photographs were all copied onto a portable memory stick by a technician.
In other shops, customers were charged for non-existent work and simple faults were misdiagnosed.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 02:27 AM
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Unbelievable, or rather, not. I've never used one of these places, and now I most definitely won't be. There has been a recent spate of these shops opening in cities in the UK, and now we know why, peoples ignorance of the apparent complexities of PC's, ecspecially laptops, has resulted in a new wave of con artists.

I hope they throw the book at them, preferably a 17" Macbook from their own shelves. Cheeky beggars.

news.sky.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 02:33 AM
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Hard to believe that was the main headline of the 08:00 hrs news bulletin.

Must be a very slow day if three nosey geeks leering over some bikini photos is even remotely newsworthy.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 02:41 AM
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Thats just horrible. These people trust them to fix their computer and these scum pull crap like this. Rediculous.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 02:51 AM
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Originally posted by Ulala

Must be a very slow day if three nosey geeks leering over some bikini photos is even remotely newsworthy.


Actually, this is a good example of information that everyone should be made aware of. It's not just mechanics who rip you off, its a common practice throughout the service industry.


People, learn to fix your own computers. If it's a software problem, you can learn to fix it yourself in 20 minutes thanks to google. If its a hardware problem, you will likely need to buy an entirely new laptop anyway, as most laptops have unique parts that are difficult to replace if they break.

Do not trust these people, even if they don't steal your information, they are likely going to charge a small fortune for a few minutes' worth of work. I have been building and working on pc's for years, and though they may seem intimidating, working on a computer is usually very easy. Read up on your problems and become self-reliant, it will save you money in the long run.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 02:55 AM
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Comp mechanics are about the same as Car mechanics.

They are so desperate for money they will cut anyones throat. See this is what we get for continually preaching "Money makes you better than people who do not have as much".

We are a society that judges peoples value by their bank account. Therefore we are reaping what we sew. Enjoy your daily robbery.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 02:55 AM
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I find that report disturbing...

I own and operate a small computer repair shop. I would go out of business in a second if anything like that happened in my shop. I think those that are guilty should be severely prosecuted. That's a clear invasion of privacy and violation of trust.

SAD!

People like that give us legitimate businessmen a bad rep



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 02:59 AM
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Originally posted by drwizardphd

People, learn to fix your own computers. If it's a software problem, you can learn to fix it yourself in 20 minutes thanks to google. If its a hardware problem, you will likely need to buy an entirely new laptop anyway, as most laptops have unique parts that are difficult to replace if they break.

Do not trust these people, even if they don't steal your information, they are likely going to charge a small fortune for a few minutes' worth of work


Tell that to an arthritic old person who cant remember simple passwords. Then while their machine is spontaneously rebooting remind them to simply log on and Google it between reboots.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 03:05 AM
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reply to post by drwizardphd
 


Good advice, although I'd add that laptops are not that hard to repair either. Screen damage is the big killer but hard drives, memory, motherboards, cpu's are all widely available and not too fiddly to fit. Maplin stocks laptop parts and upgrades.

I totally agree with you that people should learn basic computer maintenance, but if we look at cars, we see that even though people use them daily, they know very little about their mechanics. The driving test in the UK has included very basic checks and maintenance for a couple of years now, hopefully this will trickle down to other arenas.

Glad you saw the importance of this news, holiday snaps aren't very serious in the grand scheme of things as one poster has said, but the possibilities resulting from these scams are quite worrying.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 03:10 AM
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Hey, I repair a lot of systems.
I can honestly say ive never once tried to hack peoples account numbers and stuff, but people.. if your giving your PC to someone, why not do some basics?

All those 'naughty' photos you and your significant other took? put them on a CD and delete them from the PC
Clear your Cache, cookies and temps.
Dont store passwords/account details in notepad documents etc.

Use your brain for heavens sake.

Dont use things like 'password remembering'

Always clear history

Simple stuff.....


Now, if you take your PC to an EX CIA Tech head, yes ok, too bad so sad he'll be able to tell you what you had for lunch on your 20th birthday.

But regular PC shops im sure, if you walk in and your a hottie, there going to look through your 'my pictures' folder, just in case.




posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 03:13 AM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


I hope your business is unaffected by this, I was thinking about the legitimate shops when I read this, another problem that small businesses do not need right now.

Re your comment on arthritic or elderly citizens; I agree with what you're saying here, maybe an accreditation system would be a good idea? Like the golden spanner for garages. I imagine that is one of the outcomes that we will see following this.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 03:20 AM
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If you cant skin it and kill it, you shouldn't eat it. That could apply to computers, if you can't fix it yourself you shouldn't use it


Computer and car repairs in my opinion should be closely regulated somehow to prevent people being ripped off for nonexistant work which is prevalent in these sectors. Since that's never going to happen, people should educate themselves about hardware as well as software and take care of their own problems.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 03:23 AM
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These guys are just a minority cross-section of people in general. Some people are dodgy in any walk of life. The article implies that it's going on everywhere...not true. Like Slayer et al have mentioned...use intelligence and remove anything from the PC/laptop that could compromise privacy or finances. A desktop folder called 'dirty weekend' or 'secret passwords' is liable to draw a peek from the curious


On a more serious note..in the UK 3 celebrity types have been caught with infant porn by curious techs at repair shops. IIRC Gary Glitter was one...it's hard to feel sorry for a guy that travels the world looking for 8 year old girls and has a name that's rhyming slang for 'Up the .......'



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 03:31 AM
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reply to post by Sendran
 


This is exactly why I'm waiting til payday to replace my main computer's motherboard myself, as opposed to sending it off under my homeowners insurance policy that covers computer repairs. I have far too much personal information and hard work on my computer to trust a stranger with it all. The work is backed up, but it's for a website I'm building and about to launch...I don't want prying eyes to steal it all.

Maybe I'm paranoid, but I've been a victim of identity theft and I don't want to send my computer off to someone who can access all my information with a few clicks.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 05:08 AM
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I was a computer tech in a former life (before the kidneys went bad) and I can say I personally know of a lot of techs that will look thru your documents. I don't know of any that stole financial information or such things but its not uncommon for them to "borrow" those naked pics you took of your wife or that funny video you've got saved. Never done it myself (plenty of boobs on the internet and its rare for people to have a truely funny video that i haven't seen or atleast heard about on the internet) but it DOES happen. Our company caught a pedophile who was abusing three kids that way, tech stumbled across his "naughty" folder and got a lot more than he bargained for. We called the police, they took the pc and arrested the guy.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 05:23 AM
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That's pretty dodgy, but it has always been in the back of my mind.

I have all my account details in my hard drive, including forum logins, banking details and personal documents. I have a master password set on the computer so they would have to be able to get past that first. The nerds could probably just hack the information out of the drive anyway.

Might start keeping written details at home in a notebook or something.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 05:32 AM
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Wow all i can say is i am not surprised. This isnt even anything new just new news i guess. People let me tell you that if you think for one second you can trust everyone in the world your wrong! If you hand someone the keys to your house and you dont know them they will look through your panty drawer and clean out the fridge etc etc. People for the most part have a compulsion to look. We are voyers we want to have a sneak peek into someones lives even if only for a second. If you dont think you are then think again. It is what has made reality tv shows so popular. The idea we get to look in on peoples lives and we are entertained by what we see. Even if its rubbish or nothing its the act of looking. Its a rush to alot of people and an obsession with others. So if you dont think for one second that you hand over your computer which is where alot of us live, that the tech who is all alone with noone watching him isnt going to take a look and see whats behind the curtain and gets a voyeristic view of your online life or what naughty things you do then your wrong.
Is it right? heck no. Is it happening heck yes. Will it end? heck no!
Its kinda like walking by someones window and catching a glimps of 2 people having sex or getting out of the shower or whatever, most people not all but most will take a second look and then there are those who will just stand and watch. Rule of thumb is dont trust anyone with anything you use that has personal information. Guard it with your life and yes be paranoid about this stuff and not alien government coverups cause this kind of thing is only going to get worse and unlike the aliens this WILL affect you.
My girlfriend recently got a nasty malware on her comp from facebook. There is no telling what kind of info they got off her comp but it utilized a trojan horse that self installed a program on her comp that hijacked her browser and took me forever to get rid of. It even destroyed the antiviruses and malwarebytes i had on her comp. I had to manually remove it and then so much damage was done to the registry and no backup i just reinstalled windows and took me a 2 day process of updating and reinstalling everything. She wantd to take it to joe schmos comp place and i said NO.! I dont trust em and i can do it myself.
Not everyone is this lucky to have someone who can fix things and knows things and what to look out for. Those are the people who will get ripped off and setup and lied to.
How easy it would have been for me the many times i built computers for my friends to put in cheap crap and charge them for the expensive stuff. Do they know what motherboard i used or chip or ram? NO and would the ? probobly not and even if they one day did take it to a expert to have it looked at they wouldnt know the difference between a Pentium chip and a Nvidia graphics card.
Point is learn people. If your going to own a computer learn to use it, and learn what things are called. Keep records of your purchase and what you have and dont go to some fly by night place that has no worrys over credibility. If yor going to trust someone trust the places likely to watch their employess working if such a place exists.
Also learn how to clean your computers traces and not store passwords etc. And the biggest dont ever. NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER (how many evers are needed here?) sell a used computer with your old hardrive. Buy a program that OVERWRITES the data not just format it. I can get hardrives all day out of the junkyard that people throw away that still have recoverable data on them. Its as easy as me buying a $20 program that lets me restore lost data on a harddrive. Your data isnt gone unless you overwrite it with different data. My suggestion is..take the harddrive out and destroy it. No worrys there. If your selling your old comp you may take a loss of a few bucks by selling it without a hardrrive and OS but in the end your identity is worth more than the few bucks you would have made.
I wish i had the time to teach people how to protect themselves while using computers and what to know when buying and reselling a comp and having simple problems fixed. I could make a mint i bet considering there is quite a demand for this knowledge. Problem is too many people want the fast and simple and dont want to take the time to learn. Thats why everything in this society has to be user friendly so the users are going to get robbed and screwed over.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 06:40 AM
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I've seen TV investigations similar to this in my area where they make a known fault and bring it to 10 different shops to see who is competent and or honest and who isn't, but they haven't used these tactics in the sting:

(from the OP article):

The investigation was carried out using surveillance software loaded onto a brand-new laptop. It operated without the user being aware that every event that took place on the computer was being logged.

All activity on the screen was captured in still images, and the identity of whoever was using the computer was recorded using the laptop's built-in camera.


That was pretty clever. I fix my own desktops but I'm not sure if laptops are worth repairing sometimes, I try to get them with a warranty and once out of warranty, think about just getting a replacement instead of repairing it.

But for people not doing their own repairs, this is surely a wake-up call.



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 06:55 AM
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Yep there are programs you can install on your own comp that logs every keystroke you make and you can go back and look at what emails were sent what websites visited etc ect down to every word typed on your comp and these run in the background with out anyone knowing what they are or that they are running. Its a good thing to have on a comp if you have teenagers for sure. I know i might open up a can of worms with people here about privacy and kids but when it comes to kids and privacy its best to spy on them and let them think your not in my opinion. At least that way they feel like they have some independance and parents not on their but all the time. I would never suggest to a parent to let there kids surf the net uninformed. I hacked a guys computer once because of his kid installing limewire on his computer and instead of creating the shared folder as a limewire shared folder and only share whats in THAT folder he chose the c:/ drive as the shared folder. So when i browsed the host i got everything in this guys comp and let me tell you its was ALOT. i had passwords that worked to american express and other credit cards as well as his financial institutions, his business addresse and numbers, ( he was a very well off doctor) and his home address and phone numbers as well as his other home. Letters written and saved about his family very personal stuff. Now before you go off on me it was a long time ago. I have since grown up very much when it comes to that lol. But again it was fun just to look and see what i could do. I am not a crook or the type to rob someone but the feeling you get to know you could its crazy like a rush. Now i had friends telling me i should contact this guy and warn him of his security issue and all i had to say was umm no. Not many people would be glad to hear such news especially from the person snooping. So i let it go and didnt try again.
I have learned alot from my early years to know it takes very very little effort to get someone like this. All it takes is 1 stupid mistake on the computer and your done so letting your kids have complete unrestricted access to the internet and your comp is a recipe for disaster. Not just to them but to you as well.

Hope this brings things to light for people because i hate to see people get F'ed in the A



posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 06:57 AM
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I fix computers for a living, and i would NEVER even consider doing that, and times are tough for me sometimes and i still would rather be homeless and starving then ever betraying my customers in such a way. But that's just me.

I am not the most honest or moral person in general life, but when it comes to my work, It's a different game, and i like being on the good side. It's just good business. So yeah, throw the book at these crooks as far as i am concerned.



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