Skip to main content

Repair Shops Hack Laptops, PCs; Watch Out

An undercover investigation conducted by the UK's Sky News reveals that some computer repair shops are illegally accessing personal data stored on laptops. According to the exclusive report, some have attempted to hack into customer bank accounts through information gained from the hard drive. In one circumstance, a technician even stole log-in details and holiday photographs by copying the data onto a USB drive.

The undercover investigation was carried out by installing surveillance software onto a new laptop. The software records every event taking place on the laptop, silently logging keystrokes and capturing desktop images without the end-user's awareness. The laptop's built-in camera recorded the identity of whoever gained access.

As for the laptop's "technical issue," Sky News simply loosened the connection to the internal memory chip, preventing Windows from loading. To get the laptop working again, techs simply needed to push the memory back into place. The report said that shops misdiagnosed the simple problem, while others charged for work not performed.

"They know you won't be able to tell what they've done afterwards, they know you're putting your trust in them and unfortunately, as we're seeing, there are too many people willing to abuse that trust," said Richard Webb, an e-commerce investigator for Trading Standards.

Read the full, frightening report here.