Scammers are already using the hype surrounding Microsoft’s next Windows release to push out fake Windows 11 installers full of malware, adware, and other malicious tools.
Windows 11 will be available worldwide in early 2022, but after Microsoft officially announced the next version of Windows last month, Windows 11 has already been made available to all customers enrolled in the Insider program.
However, as Kaspersky security researchers discovered, hundreds of users are already downloading installers from unofficial sources and becoming infected with malware.
“Although Microsoft has made the process of downloading and installing Windows 11 from its official website fairly simple, many people still go to other sources to download the software,” Kaspersky said.
“Kaspersky products have already defeated hundreds of infection attempts using similar Windows 11-related schemes.”
Malicious installers bundled with fake Windows Activators
Many malware distributed by attackers in this way were downloaders designed to deliver other malicious payloads to victims’ already infected computers.
Windows 11 installer baits have also been used to directly push a variety of other payloads, from adware (considered mostly harmless by antimalware software) to far more dangerous Trojans, password stealers, and similar threats.
One of the infected users downloaded a 1.75GB fake Windows 11 installer, which when launched looks like a Windows installation wizard.
However, malicious installers actually download and run adware, unwanted programs, and a second installer designed to install malware.
“The second executable is also an installer and ‘86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + download manager for activator‘ And I mentioned that I would also install some sponsored software,” Kaspersky added.
“If you accept the agreement, various malicious programs will be installed on your computer.”
Install Windows 11 through official channels
To avoid getting infected with all kinds of malicious malware by malicious Windows 11 installers, you should always get official downloads only from official sources.
Windows 11 is available to all users enrolled in the Windows Insider program and can be installed on any Windows 10 computer.
As part of the Windows 11 announcement in June, Microsoft also announced Windows 11 hardware requirements that a TPM 2.0 secure processor is required to upgrade or install Windows 11.
However, Microsoft said that Windows Insiders already in the Dev channel can install Windows 11 preview builds even if they don’t meet the minimum system requirements for the OS.
After enrolling in the Windows Insider Program, you can go to the next page to upgrade to Windows 11. Settings > Update and Security > windows insider program, then activate developer channel To get Windows updates.