Beware of fake Windows 11 installers that can install malware on your computer: How to stay safe online

By: |
July 26, 2021 7:09 PM

It is important to note that Windows 11, which is the first upgrade Microsoft is offering in six years, is yet to begin rolling out.

Kaspersky has detected several hundreds of such malicious attempts linked to fake Windows 11 installers

Windows 11 installers: With Windows 11 just around the corner, users are excited to get their hands on the new OS version quicker than everyone else, and this is putting them at risk. Cybercriminals have set out to take advantage of this excitement among users, and have floated out fake Windows 11 installers which are actually riddled with malware, as per cybersecurity firm Kaspersky. Installing the Windows 11 update from an unverified source could lead to users falling prey to a fake installer, leading to their computer having malicious software.

The cybersecurity company explained that the attackers are fooling users by putting in extra programs with the “Windows 11” update or are posting malware that have file names looking just like that of an update. One executable malicious file that is doing rounds was cited by Kaspersky – 86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator.exe. Its name makes the 1.75 GB file look legitimate, however most of this space is one DLL file containing useless information. Running the executable file leads to the installer starting to run, and this installer looks just like an ordinary installation wizard on Windows.

There is a second executable which is also an installer and also consists of a licence agreement, mentioning that if users agree, some sponsored software would also be installed. If the users accept the agreement, several malware would be installed in their software, compromising their computer’s privacy and security.

Kaspersky has detected several hundreds of such malicious attempts linked to fake Windows 11 installers, and a large portion of them are related to downloaders primarily downloading and running other programs.

It is important to note that Windows 11, which is the first upgrade Microsoft is offering in six years, is yet to begin rolling out, and the anticipation around the upgrade is understandable because it is a surprise after Redmond had said that the Windows line-up would end after Windows 10. The company has however made a pre-release build available for users who may need it like software developers, tech journalists and OS enthusiasts. However, since the upgrade to Windows 11 would be a free one, it would be beneficial for users to remember that they would be able to find the authentic Windows 11, once available, on the Microsoft portals. To be safe, that is the only place where users should get the update from, as it minimises the chances of downloading a fake installer and putting their system at risk.

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