Tech support scammers have traditionally used self-hosted websites to advertise their suspicious services. However, the phony nature of this method has become easier to detect over the years. In order to bolster their reputation and chance of ranking higher in search results, these scammers have recently turned their focus towards the Microsoft TechNet portal.
TechNet provides product documentation, forums, and a download hub for a wide variety of Microsoft-related software solutions. Security researcher Cody Johnston recently found more than 3,000 pages on TechNet containing tech support scams that promote phone numbers for cryptocurrency exchanges and social media sites.
ZDNet noted that this technique lends some sort of "reputational boost" to the scams as they show up on the microsoft.com domain, with majority of the shady services created on the gallery.technet.microsoft.com subdomain. Johnston revealed to ZDNet that he found a total of 3,090 results that date back to August 2018, with 12 new pages having been set up in the previous week. The security researcher claimed that the scams appear to be targeted at various platforms including Binance, Google Wallet, and Instagram, which commonly require customer support.
Fortunately, the shady pages have been taken down by Microsoft immediately on the same day that Johnston brought the issue to the software giant's attention.