A programmer built a telephone bot army to fight off tech support scammers

via Malwarebytes Labs

Let's face it-- dealing with tech support scammers who try to tell you that there is something wrong with your computer, even though there isn't, is pretty annoying. Adding insult to injury, scammers have also evolved in their techniques. They now utilize pop-ups that appear out of nowhere when we're browsing the internet, prompting us to call a certain number to make the message go away.

While those knowledgeable about the issue can easily dismiss the fraudsters, there are still many who are prone to being tricked into installing malware, and even worse, handing out their personal and financial information. With this in consideration, a programmer has devised a new scheme to waste the tech support scammers' time, and possibly putting them out for good in the long run.

Enter Roger Anderson, a telecom consultant who also founded The Jolly Roger Telephone Company. Under this firm, he built an army of human-sounding telephone robots, with an objective of preventing the telemarketers from victimizing innocent people or businesses.

According to him, he started building the bot army after a scammer called his house and used profane language on his son. When a scammer calls, you transfer the call to the bot, which now handles the conversation for you. To make it sound realistic enough, the bot says things like "yeah," "mhmm," and can even talk about the weather in Florida. At this point, the telemarketer on the other side can talk to the other end as much as they want, without knowing that the one they're talking to are recorded bot voices.

More recently this week, Anderson encountered one of those rogue online messages. "I ended up getting a popup saying my computer was infected. I felt invaded. I thought, 'screw that.' Of all the people on planet, I'm probably the only guy that has the tech to make blast phone calls. And I have robots that sound like people convincingly enough to waste time," he shared to Business Insider.

He never thought of using the bot army to make outgoing calls to the scammers, mainly because of the "evil" that could be done, should the power fall into the wrong hands. Despite this, Anderson called the number flashed on the screen, and utilized his bot army. He explains further:

"I called 100 times on 20 simultaneous channels. They answered, talked to my bots. Then they started to put my bots on hold. Then they started swearing, shouting to each other, about what is going on, I could hear in background. Then I made 500 calls on 20 simultaneous channels to the number. After 300 phone [calls], they disconnected the number."

He has since then shared this experience on his blog, which contains other calls where he utilized his bots to play with the scammers.

Anderson plans to continue attempting to take down the said tech support scammers. He plans on letting people report scams to him, track the number, and let his bot army do the work. "I am going to eradicate the inbound Windows Support scam," the programmer stated. "I personally can put a stop to the Windows pop-up scam. You report a number to me. I’ve got tools."

Source: Business Insider, Jolly Roger Telephone Company

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