Posted by: David Harley | July 17, 2015

A bit more on iOS support scams

Since my last couple of articles here have been about support scams using Safari (especially) to deliver fake alerts on OS X and iOS devices, I should also mention an article by Sean of F-Secure that points out that disabling pop-ups using Safari’s pop-up blocking  [Settings -> Safari -> Block Pop-ups] and/or fraudulent website warning won’t fix the problem, or at any rate doesn’t work against the example described in the article. The article says that this is because in F-Secure’s examples, the pop-up is not actually a pop-up but a JavaScript-generated dialog.

Actually, JavaScript can be used to generate pop-ups, but I guess that isn’t the same thing. Anyway, the essential point is that Block Pop-ups doesn’t work here, apparently. (Sorry, I’m not in a position to check, but F-Secure doesn’t usually get this sort of thing wrong.) The Apple article cited by The Telegraph as well as F-Secure does include a note on disabling JavaScript via Settings > Safari > Advanced but as Sean rightly points out, while this is a quick way of regaining control of a pop-up-pestered iGadget, leaving it disabled will probably impact your browsing experience on some legitimate sites.

Did I mention that I maintain a collection of links to tech support scam information on the AVIEN blog? These articles are being added to that page as I go along.

David Harley


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