In Australia and around the whole world, there is an Internet scam where you receive a phone call from a "Computer Technician" (sometimes identified as from Microsoft) who proceeds to explain that your computer is infected with malicious software (viruses & trojans) and that hackers are attacking your computer.
Well, I received on of these phone call recently and so I played along for a bit. I followed the instructions which got me to select Start >> Run and enter the commands "inf" and "prefetch". This opened the C:\Windows\Inf folder which contained some 1,400 files (which I was told were viruses) and the and C:\Windows\Prefetch folder which contains 150 files (which I was told were hacker files). I stopped the call when they wanted to use the tool LogMeIn123.com to access my machine.
For someone who is not knowledgeable about computers or who has not been made aware of the scam, it could be quite convincing. If I had let them "convince" me that my machine was at risk, I would have been asked to pay a fee to get it fixed. The truth is there was nothing wrong with my computer and the fee just goes straight into a criminal's pocket.
So as a Public Service Announcement: Microsoft (or any other legitimate computer firm) will never cold call and claim to know that your computer has been infected.
Have a listen to the warning below:
For the full post visit, Microsoft issues warning on phone scam
For more information, Microsoft recommends the following resources:
- Microsoft Online Safety site: http://www.microsoft.com.au/security and http://www.microsoft.com/security
- Australian Government: http://www.scamwatch.gov.au