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Fake Windows 11 installers target users with malware

Kaspersky Windows 11 OS installer files cybersecurity hackers operating system

Cybersecurity company Kaspersky has issued a warning for users to be on the lookout for fake Windows 11 installer files on the internet.

On 27 July, the company published research findings on how fraudsters were taking advantage of users’ anticipation of the OS.

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“The new Windows 11 operating system is a huge release, which attracts the interest of many users and tech enthusiasts,” Kaspersky security expert, Anton V. Ivanov, said in a statement.

“Understanding this demand, fraudsters have quickly adapted, spreading various forms of malware disguised as the new operating system.”

Last month, Microsoft introduced the latest version of its Windows OS.

Windows 11 will roll out at the end of 2021 while Windows 10 users can upgrade from early 2022.

Prior to that, Microsoft has released the first preview of the OS to members of its Windows Insider programme.

During the first month after Microsoft’s announcement, Kaspersky detected and prevented 850 attempts to infect users’ devices. The files purported to be Windows 11 software.

The company found one malicious 1.75GB file that ran a second installer under a fake Windows installation wizard. The installer would install unwanted or malware apps on the device without the user’s knowledge.

“By getting too excited to experience the new OS, users are less likely to pay attention to the process and may download files from third-party sources – which is something that we advise to never do,” Ivanov explained.

“And attackers are only too happy to offer them their services.”

How to avoid fake Windows 11 installers

At the same time, Kaspersky listed several ways users can avoid falling for fake OS installers and downloading malicious files.

It recommended that users be skeptical about generous offers or promotions about the new OS.

They must also check the authenticity of websites they visit and only download Windows through official channels.

Featured image: Unsplash/Tadas Sar

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