Fake Windows 11 installers are giving people malware, and it is not surprising

Ever since Microsoft announced Windows 11, people have been very excited about it and have been impatient to try it out. While officially the OS is rolling out later this year to the public and is available only for developers and Windows Insider Program members now, there are some fake Windows 11 installers floating around the web that’s giving people malware.

| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 19:01 IST
Here's why you should be careful where you download Windows 11 from.  
Here's why you should be careful where you download Windows 11 from.   (Microsoft)
Here's why you should be careful where you download Windows 11 from.  
Here's why you should be careful where you download Windows 11 from.   (Microsoft)

Microsoft announced Windows 11 earlier this year and this new operating system (OS) is yet to roll out publicly. Currently, it is only available for Windows Insider Program members and developers. But understandably there are a lot of people out there who are very excited about it and can't wait to try it out. Cybercriminals have obviously jumped in on the opportunity and there are a bunch of fake Windows 11 installers available online that are giving people malware if they use them.

It's not rocket science but if you want to install Windows 11 you should get it from official sources. As Kaspersky mentions in a recent report, many people have been trying to use alternative methods to get Windows 11 and are getting malware on their devices. “Although Microsoft has made the process of downloading and installing Windows 11 from its official website fairly straightforward, many still visit other sources to download the software, which often contains unadvertised goodies from cybercriminals (and isn't necessarily Windows 11 at all),” Kaspersky wrote.

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There is one particular malicious file called 86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator.exe. Going by the name, the file is supposed to include Windows 11 build 21996.1 along with something else that is supposed to automatically activate Windows for you. The file is 1.75GB in size, so many people will find that perfectly reasonable. This file starts out looking like a normal installer and then there is a second installer with it called “download manager”. Now, if you accept the terms and conditions of this file, you will get a whole bunch of malware on your system, as XDA Developers reports.

This 86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator.exe is just one example of fake installers, and there are more. Windows 11 is officially only available for Windows Insiders on the Dev channel and that's the only version that's going to be malware free for certain, however, given that most people do not have access to this, it is not surprising that they are looking to hack their way around it. Also, Microsoft has bumped up the system requirements for Windows 11 so you need Intel 8th-gen or AMD Zen 2 processor or newer. People with older PCs are going to be left out so most have been looking for alternate ways to get Windows 11.

You can download Windows 11 but do it from trusted sources only. Malware can be anything from adware to a Trojan or worse. Adware is not usually super dangerous, it just floods your PC with unwanted ads. If it's a Trojan, then it is harder to remove and your machine also gets infected. If you really want to get Windows 11 right away, enrol your PC in the Windows Insider Program, or just have some patience and wait till the official public build rolls out.

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First Published Date: 25 Jul, 07:36 IST