March 25, 2023

Malware is masquerading as Microsoft’s next-gen operating system to infect unsuspecting users’ systems.

The malware contained in a file called “86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator.exe” increased its file size to 1.75GB using “one DLL file that contains a lot of useless information” to create the illusion that it was a legitimate Windows 11 installation tool.

Opening that file invokes a series of installers resembling an ordinary Windows installation wizard complete with a license agreement that notes that it would also install some sponsored software.

The installed malware “can be very wide-ranging from relatively harmless adware, which our solutions classify as not-a-virus, to full-fledged Trojans, password stealers, exploits, and other nasty stuff.” It’s not clear if some of these schemes eventually install Windows 11 as well or if they all leave their victims with their existing version of Windows instead.

The PC users looking to use Windows 11 ahead of its official release to join the Windows Insider Program which is currently the only legitimate way to install the operating system instead of downloading shady files.

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