An elderly friend just purchased an HP Pavilian (Windows 8) 13-A010DX from Best Buy and was setting up his Office 365 account when he received a pop-up (from his browser, I’d presume), which stated that he had a security issue and to call “1-888-391-6168.”

My friend called the number and allowed the scam artist on the other end to remote into the computer, hijack it, and also was convinced to provide a credit card number. After providing the number, my friend realized he was “hacked,” cancelled the card and unplugged the computer, then called me. He typed in his Optimum Online account password during this process.

  • I had him unplug his cable modem from the provider.
  • I explained that Microsoft, Apple and any other legitimate company would never approach him offering help.
  • I had him call his cable provider, Optimum, to try to lock down his e-mail account and recover it, remove any forwarding, and to change his password utterly. He claims to not have had any e-mails of significance in his account and deletes/purges his account frequently.

He has a Wi-Fi router shared by several other pieces of technology throughout the house, but not connected to each other via a network.

Regarding CDs, the 13-A010DX does not have a CD drive.

I live over 8 states away and cannot be there physically and have no desire to compromise my own systems by going in remotely; nor have I any solid experience with Windows 8.

My knee jerk thought is to have him take it back to Best Buy, and have them wipe it. Alternately, I believe there may be some sort of built-in factory reset with an HP build.

I am baffled that this happened and have no idea how to proceed or how to advise him to proceed.

  • 3
    Only one solution. Nuke it from orbit And reinstall everything – Ramhound Feb 18 '15 at 20:26
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    Not answering because I'm not certain, but most name brand new computers come with some kind of recovery system (a CD, DVD, or partition on the hard disk) that will reset the computer to factory original by wiping the working partition and reinstalling the OD. Problem is, the hacker(s) almost certainly know this, and may block the recovery program. Best is, as you suggested, to take it back to Best Buy; they're likely to charge, but just to reinstall the OS won't cost much (little technician time required, even though it has to run for a while). – Zeiss Ikon Feb 18 '15 at 20:26
  • Windows 8 also has a refresh feature he should use that, lots of online printable guides, your friend can use – Ramhound Feb 18 '15 at 20:27
  • If "Refresh" can't be trusted then there sound be reset or restore... – Kinnectus Feb 18 '15 at 20:33
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    @Mooseman - Do you know how it works? You should trust it. A refresh will replace every single Windows file with the original. It also will replace the registry hive. What it won't do is delete an infection but that infection won't be able to execute on it on at least. A reset does one step further. It removes all personal files also. It does exactly what those "recovery disks" you are suggesting does. – Ramhound Feb 18 '15 at 22:52

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