Windows 11 is poised to replace Windows 10 as the latest operating system from Microsoft. This upgrade was announced back in June and brings a new design, easier ways to manage your desktop windows, interactive widgets, and better integration with Teams. Although we’ve already had our first glimpse of Windows 11, Microsoft is yet to reveal exactly when it will be available to download for fans worldwide …and that’s given cyber criminals the perfect excuse to target Windows 10 fans desperate to make the switch to the new operating system.
According to the security experts at Kaspersky, there’s been a sudden surge in the amount of malware being distributed under the guise of Microsoft’s new operating system.
With millions of users eager to download Windows 11 and try out the new upgrades, thieves have begun pushing out fake Windows 11 downloads which are packed with malicious files that can wreak havoc with PCs. For example, the company’s researchers found one malicious file, with a size of 1.75 GB, so the user thinks that it could really be an operating system.
Once opened on a PC this file boots up a normal Windows installation wizard which all looks incredibly real. However, behind the scenes, its main purpose is to download and run a second installer, which in turn sets up adware, potentially unwanted apps or other types of malware on the system.
During the first month after Windows 11 was announced, Kaspersky said it detected and prevented 850 attempts to infect users through files with various threats disguised as the latest operating system.
Speaking about the threat, Anton V. Ivanov, a security expert at Kaspersky, said: “The new Windows 11 operating system is a huge release, which attracts the interest of many users and tech enthusiasts. Understanding this demand, fraudsters have quickly adapted, spreading various forms of malware disguised as the new operating system. 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. And attackers are only too happy to offer them their services.”
It looks almost certain that Windows 11 will be released around October, so there’s not too long to wait for an official release and it’s best to hold fire before trying to install files you may find lurking on the web.
If you are desperate to get all the latest features then you can join the Windows Insiders preview although it’s worth noting that the software pushed out via this programme is often full of bugs so you might be wise installing it on a secondary PC.
Here are some top tips from Kaspersky on how to avoid falling foul of the latest threats.
• Be sceptical about news or generous offers for the new operating system
• Always check the authenticity of the websites you visit
• Only download operating systems from official stores