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Do I need to buy a firewall? The website networksecure247.com is trying to sell me one. They call and say that "alerts" keep coming up on my network. I have a 2013 Dell computer, and the firewall from Microsoft expired on August 16. This company, Network Secure, is telling me that I need a firewall. Do I?

marked as duplicate by André Borie, sebastian nielsen, Matthew, Dmitry Grigoryev, Xander Aug 23 '16 at 13:06

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    Alerts keep coming up on my network sounds like something you'd hear said in an Indian accent by somebody claiming to be from the Microsoft department. In other words: To me it sounds like a scam. I hope you haven't followed any instructions given to you by those people. – kasperd Aug 22 '16 at 20:52
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    FYI that website is flagged as a phishing website. – Lucas Kauffman Aug 22 '16 at 23:59
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    How would some random company know about alerts on your network? – David Schwartz Aug 23 '16 at 0:18
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    How do they know your phone number? – copper.hat Aug 23 '16 at 5:16
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    @copper.hat these scammers call random numbers, they try their luck with anyone that answers and hope the person lacks basic common sense and takes out their wallet. – André Borie Aug 23 '16 at 6:26
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You needn't buy anything from someone who calls you unsolicited and tells you need to buy something from them. In fact, you're generally better off not buying things from people who call you unsolicited. In fact, you're generally better off not even listening to people who call you unsolicited to sell you things, and just hang up on them instead. Particularly when they lie to you about things like "alerts keep coming up on your network" which is patently absurd.

The Microsoft firewall does not expire. Not on 8/16/16, or on any other date. It is a component of Windows and is good for all eternity, or as long as your computer lasts, whichever comes first. There is no need to buy an additional host-based (runs on your computer, in other words) firewall.

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    Ah, this is right up there with the "We see your computer has viruses, let us tunnel into your computer and steal your financial information so we can fix it for you" – Verbal Kint Aug 22 '16 at 19:17
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    In fact, you are way better off after this answer :-) – dotproi Aug 22 '16 at 19:18
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    Just hang up? Where's the fun in that? I much prefer to waste their time and keep them on the line, with a heave dose of trolling. – Alexander O'Mara Aug 22 '16 at 21:15
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    @AlexanderO'Mara Well that's an option too. And if you have time to spare, there's an epic example of that tactic documented here: blog.drsolly.com/2016/04/the-tech-support-scam-saga.html – Xander Aug 22 '16 at 21:21
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    @Xander And don't forget egbg.home.xs4all.nl/counterscript.html – Tobias Kienzler Aug 23 '16 at 6:13
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Xander answered the main question, so I'll focus on the unspoken half of your question - namely, the helpful people at networksecure247.com!

Glancing at their website, I can see:

  • Typos in their banners ("Hear to help you")
  • Weird formatting for their North America toll-free number (1800 is virtually always shown as '1 800' or '1-800')
  • Their telephone support line is a Skype line
  • Their website gives me no indication of what they actually do
  • Their website doesn't indicate what company they are or where they are registered
  • Frequent examples of English usage by a writer that is probably not a native English speaker, and perhaps not even human ("Detect virus and protect PC Less crashes No missing files Stability of computer Less errors Replacing Old PC with new one Buying up a new computer is never a recommended solution to the problem.")
  • Their Facebook link doesn't go anywhere

Any of those items alone is something that would embarrass a company and their web designer.

All of these together tell you this website is a scam. The company doesn't exist. It's a front for scam behaviour, so that they might fool their victims who might think I'm not sure exactly what they said, but their website sounds like they know what they're doing...

As Xander explained in a fantastic answer, this company can't know anything about your home computer's security or network settings. They are just phishing, hoping to manipulate you into doing something on your computer to give them access.

These calls can be difficult to interpret for non-technical people. It's always safe to just hang up on anyone calling you. If it was a legitimate, important call, they will follow up, often by mail. It is always best to assume that if you aren't expecting a call, the person is calling you for a reason that benefits them and not you. That applies to "honest" telemarketers as well as scammers.

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    I am not a mechanic and if people call me randomly saying I need to take my car to their garage, or that I need to change my water supply to their company, I wont think twice about scoffing at them. It is not about non technical people; it is about the gullible and the vulnerable elderly. – Rui F Ribeiro Aug 23 '16 at 6:40
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    "this company can't know anything about your home computer's security or network settings" This is not true. If your computer is a zombie attacking their company, they know about your security and have a reason for an unsolicited call asking you to put a firewall. But receiving ALERT from another unrelated computer is indeed bullshit trying to scare you into buying their crapware(plus, how did they get your phone number from your IP?) – Madlozoz Aug 23 '16 at 6:55
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This is a well-known scam trick. The aim of the scammers is to get you to pay for their "services" whilst they pretty much destroy your computer under their ruse of installing a firewall.

There's a few main points you've mentioned:

  • Do you need to buy a firewall? No. Windows Firewall is sufficient for home users, and doesn't ever expire.

  • 'Alerts' are coming up on their network - This is an attempt to seem genuine. If they tell you that your computer is alerting them that it needs a firewall, you're more likely to buy the story. In reality, your computer should never normally tell a 3rd party that there's a problem - Windows has warnings built in that will only ever tell YOU.

  • The company is telling you that you need a firewall - every company that attempts to sell you something will say that you need it, this is part of Sales 101. Again, Windows will tell you if there's no active firewall.

I've also done a little of my own research - the WHOIS for that website is pretty much hidden. We know it's hosted by GoDaddy in Singapore, but it doesn't tell us who, or where it is registered. A reputable company usually has no issue displaying this information in their WHOIS data. Their website, as stated by Stefan Mohr is absolutely shocking, and is certainly not one I would trust to browse, let alone download any software from.

Unfortunately, there's not much more we can do about this. I would suggest you find a way of blocking the number from calling you and heed this information for the future. No-one at all should ever call you to tell you there's something wrong with your computer. If they do, it's pretty much 100% always a scam.

I will say that I'm glad you didn't just go ahead with it, and had the foresight to ask someone else first.

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