Don’t Fall For This Windows 10 Email Scam.
If you’re still waiting for your reservation to come up as Microsoft rolls out Windows 10, we can’t blame you for being eager to get your virtual hands on Microsoft’s latest OS. Security researchers are warning about a wave of bogus spam emails with malicious attachments, labeled as if they’re legitimate copies of the new program.As spotted by Cisco, some scammers are taking advantage of the reservation system for Windows 10 to send out malware-ridden emails, posing as Microsoft.
As with all ransomware campaigns we’ve seen recently, attackers have a predisposition to use hot events to trick users into downloading malicious files on their PCs. Researchers at Cisco Systems say the emails are designed to look like an official upgrade notice from Microsoft Corp., but several words have random, out-of-place letters and punctuation.
Being released two days ago, Windows 10 has already been installed on over 67 million computers, and the numbers are about to go higher since the company is anticipating to hit 1 billion installs. Another important clue: Microsoft says its update mechanism provides computer owners with a notice on their screens – not via email – when a direct Internet download is available.
The email goes to a few lengths to appear legitimate — a spoofed email address, so it looks like it comes from firstname.lastname@example.org, and disclaimer/antivirus messages that give the impression of authenticity. The attackers, using an IP address assigned to Thailand, are distributing carefully-crafted emails to users, inviting them to install Microsoft’s Windows 10 OS. At first glance, the emails look reasonably legit: Cisco notes that scammers are spoofing the sender’s email address to make it look as if the message is from Microsoft.
But all the hallmarks of an email scam are still there: missing characters, eigth-grader writing style, and, of course, the fact that Windows 10 is installed on your desktop, not through an email attachment. If your antivirus doesn’t detect it and you forget to scan the archive using Web services like VirusTotal, you’ll get yourself locked out of your computer and greeted by a message like the one below. According to the Cisco team, “the functionality is standard, using asymmetric encryption that allows the adversaries to encrypt the user’s files without having the decryption key reside on the infected system.” The Cisco Talos team recommends users to create backups of their PCs on a regular basis, which they should store offline.
Additionally, server admins are encouraged to use Cisco products like AMP, CWS, WSA, ESA, or Network Security to prevent these threats from ever reaching users. An attached .zip file purports to be a Windows 10 installer, but according to Cisco, the attachment contains a piece of ransomware called CTB-Locker that encrypts your files and requests payment within 96 hours, lets your files be encrypted forever.
Microsoft paid the Rolling Stones an unconscionable amount of money (we never found out how much) to use Start Me Up as the musical backdrop for the launch. The first internet boom, triggered by the web and the Netscape browser, was just beginning to roll and Windows 95 was the first Microsoft operating system to have a TCP/IP stack (needed to connect to the internet) baked in.
Instead, your reserved copy of Windows 10 will be automatically downloaded onto your system at some point in the next few days or weeks, and you will receive a notification on your PC when it’s time to install. Cybercriminals are very adept at shifting their tactics, though, so you shouldn’t assume that an email message is safe just because it lacks these elements. I mean to say, it even bought Nokia – and then had to take a humiliating multibillion writedown as a public acknowledgement of that particular catastrophic mistake.
The documents circulating in every major FTSE 100 company, and in every law firm in the country, will have been composed and revised in Microsoft Word – even if they are circulated as PDFs. The global market share of desktop operating systems in June 2015 looks like this: Windows 7 (61%); Windows 8.1 (13.1%); Windows XP (12%); Windows 8 (2.9%); Windows Vista (1.6%). Now without doubt the market for desktop PC and Windows-powered laptops is steadily declining, and the picture will be very different two decades from now.