Are Foreigners On Your Computer?

Screenshot of the netstat window hackers use to try to convince you that there are foreigners on your computer.

Those Evil Foreigners!

Are there foreigners on your computer? You’ve heard me talk about the scam artists who will tell you anything and lie through their teeth just to sell you their worthless service.  You know if you let them onto your computer, they will do whatever they can to panic you.  The picture above is an example.  They will bring up this window on your computer.  Then, they’ll point out the column heading “Foreign Address.”  Next, they’ll point out IP addresses like those above with red arrows.  They will tell you that there are hackers from foreign countries, like Russia, on your computer and you need to buy their service to fix everything that is wrong.

It’s A Lie!

Of course, none of that is true.  They are lying to you because they want to scare you into making a mistake in judgment.  (This is a perfect example of Social Engineering.) The column heading, “Foreign Address” simply means that something outside of your computer is connected to it at the moment this window was open.  For instance, the IP Address 52.165.171.165 is a Microsoft server to which my computer stays connected all the time because I chose the “Keep me signed in” option.  The IP address 162.125.18.133 is DropBox (a cloud service to which I back up files).  The third arrow is pointing to 148.66.233.37 which is another cloud service on my computer.  Finally, an IP address without an arrow is 13.89.187.212 and again, that is a Microsoft server to which I stay attached all the time.  The IP addresses which show on your computer would most likely be different than mine but the fact remains, they are almost always legitimate connections.

Do not fall for these scam artists.  Don’t let anyone onto your computer who calls claiming to be Microsoft or Apple; and, don’t follow any directions they give you.  Also, remember, when you call a big company – like a printer company – the people you talk to are almost never employees of that company.  They usually work for a third-party company and they will tell you anything in an attempt to take your money needlessly.

Just For Fun

A few people asked me how they could get to the window I’m showing in the picture at the top. Here’s how:

  • On a Windows machine, in the search bar, search for “cmd” without the quotes.
  • When the result appears at the top of the search, right-click and choose “Run as administrator” from the menu.
  • Click Yes on the security window
  • In the Command Prompt window, type netstat -ab. (Note: there is a space between netstat and the dash.)
  • You should now see a window similar to the picture at the top of this post.
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About the Author

John Grubb

I've been working on computers since 1983! I love helping people resolve their computing issues and sharing preventative measures, as well.