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Office Depot and OfficeMax Find malware that is not there



Sometimes we rebuild a RAID array or replace a BIOS chip, and we wonder how ordinary people keep their computers running. Then we realize that most of them come to someone like us for help. But what if you do not have a family member or friend who is computer literate? No problem! Lots of stores – including large office stores like Office Depot and OfficeMax – will be happy to assist you. Why most of them will be willing to test your computer for free. It sounds nice until you find out that these tests at least in some cases showed problems that didn't have to be corrected so users would pay for services they didn't need. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has fined Office Depot (which owns OfficeMax) $ 25 million and plans to use the funds to issue refunds. In addition, a vendor, Support.com, will pay $ 1

0 million to support the reimbursements.

The free check used software to record problems on a PC. However, during the scan, the user is asked if their computer has any of the following symptoms. For example, if their PC has become slow or often reboots. If you said yes to one of these questions, the software would produce a report claiming to have found evidence of malware and offering fixes that could cost significant amounts of money even though there was no other evidence.

You may think it was just bad software provided by the seller and that the office staff did not know. According to the FTC, this is not the case. From their report:

The FTC claims that both Office Depot and Support.com have been aware of concerns and complaints about the PC Health Check program since at least 2012. For example, an OfficeMax employee complained to corporate management in 2012 and said "I Can't justify lying to a customer or being TRICKED to lie to them for our store to make a few extra dollars. " Despite this and other internal warnings, Office Depot continued to announce and use the PC Health Check program until the end of 2016 and pushed its store managers and employees to generate sales from the program, according to the complaint.

This kind of thing concerns us for several reasons. If a cyber hacker (black hat, not our kind of hacker) commits a scam, it is regrettable. Why shouldn't it be so regrettable for a big company to exploit people's ignorance of their computers? In addition, things like this will ultimately lead to increased regulation of working with technology.

Think it can't happen? It wasn't so long ago that everything you had to do to be a doctor was to claim to be one. We can imagine that a "doctor" could say, "Do you have back pain? You do? Obviously you need expensive electric shock therapy to repair your herniated disc." The government would ultimately license doctors and medical public protection equipment.

Granted, it could be worse. It does not seem that the software made malicious changes, which then required fixing – similar to a shady mechanic cutting your brake lines while controlling your oil. But it is still inappropriate to offer to clean a virus that you cannot find just from a person's saying – especially one that has to go to a large computer store bookstore.


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