SAN FRANCISCO, June 16, 2011 (AFP) - Cyber crooks are avoiding the need for slick software skills by talking their way past computer defenses with old-fashioned telephone calls.
Microsoft on Thursday warned that hackers posing as members of the software titan's support or research teams are calling people to trick them into installing viruses, revealing passwords, or disclosing credit card numbers.
"Cybercriminals don't just send fraudulent email messages and set up fake websites," Microsoft said in a message at its online security center.
"They might also call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft."
Imposters might offer to solve computer problems or sell people software licenses, according to the Redmond, Washington-based technology firm.
People may be duped into downloading and installing malicious software that could steal information or seize control of computers.
Microsoft urged people never to buy anything from unsolicited callers claiming to work for the company and not to turn control of their computers over to strangers.