I was hired by a premium partner of this company for what I thought was a real job, to fix
customers computers that were having problems after installing System
Mechanic. However, I quickly noticed that out of about 20 people I
was the only certified tech in the company (at
and after asking around discovered that not a single person in the
company had previous tech experience. They were all sales people
acting like techs.
I noticed that almost every customer had the same problem: they
installed System Mechanic or System checkup, it had critical errors,
and after running "Fix It" the computers would become
disabled via changing the permissions of the following registry keys:
BFE, BITS, Windows Firewall Service, Windows Installer Service, and
Windows Updates. I have been an IT person for a decade and I know
malware is many things but there is one thing it is not-the same.
Rarely is that malware stays the same.
I asked the owner of supportchoice.com for permission to look into
the software and find the issue. He gave me permission.
owner did not know I knew how to use backtrack linux for forensics
because I found an embedded script in certain updates (not in all
updates- they selected semi random targets to receive the updates and
the script/root kit was simple- it changed the permissions on the
registry keys in such a way that it would be extremely difficult for
anyone with out prior knowledge to
I showed the owner my results he deleted the virtual machines I had
tested, my user profile, and asked me to resign. I refused because I
am in Texas and if you quit it is bad, So they had another employee
bring a gun to work and tell me to leave because I had cost us the
Iolo.com contract (word got to Iolo I had discovered their script). I
emailed management about the gun incident so I would have evidence
that it happened.
after they finally fired me and said if I mentioned the script I had
found there would be trouble. The thing that really made me mad was
almost all the customers that fell for it were elderly.
would use the product to speed up a working computer, it would become
disabled, they would call in for "Free support" who would
know what was wrong and never try to fix it- their job was to keep
you on the phone and wear you down. Then, after countless fruitless
hours on the phone they pass you to a "Premium Partner"
that will be able to help because the issue is "Out Of Scope".
The "Premium Partners" then spend however long it takes to
wear the customer. Once they paid either 199.99 or 299.99 we would
spend several hours running free scans to make it look like we were
actually doing something. Then, at the right moment, we would quietly
import the registry keys we had corrupted and everything would
suddenly just work!
victims even left positive reviews thinking we saved the
day, having no
idea they had been duped.
The trick was this: they would use cheap Indian call centers to wear
the customer down. Sometimes we would get a customer that had been on
the phone 6+ hours and transferred to 10 different supervisors.
By the time they talk to an American tech they were so relieved
they usually paid to be over it.
We were always instructed to lie and say were were not related to the
Indian partners, Iolo Premuim Services, even though we worked for the
same parent company.
What really showed the true colors of this company was when an
attorney called and threatened to turn us in to the police
Supportchoice.com gave him unlimited free service and a free years
contract. He (the lawyer) has made use of his find by using several
hundred hours of support (good for him), and unlike other customers
that test the Unlimited support and get dropped, this customer
has them jumping through hoops for him, and they cannot drop him!!!
One other thing; if you are law enforcement, this company is so
paranoid that they delete their servers and ALL backups every couple
weeks since I found out their secret. My roaming profile was deleted
no less than seven times after this discovery. Iolo has stopped
sending them calls due to myself and one other employee finding the
same thing, but most of supportchoice.com's customers are the result
of the Iolo fraud.