Beware of ‘Windows 10 upgrade’ scam

Scammers posing as Microsoft exploit Windows 10 launch to send out malware-ridden emails

Tags: Cisco Systems IncorporatedCyber crimeMicrosoft CorporationUnited Arab Emirates
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Beware of ‘Windows 10 upgrade’ scam Victims are threatened to either pay up within 96 hours to have their files decrypted or they lose them forever.
By  David Ndichu Published  August 2, 2015

Caution is urged as scammers try to take advantage of the recent Windows 10 launch to have eager but unsuspecting PC users download ransomware onto their PCs.

According to Cisco, cyber criminals are impersonating Microsoft in an attempt to exploit their user base for monetary gain. They are doing this by spoofing the email to look like it is coming directly from Microsoft ( The email purports to contain the installer package for Windows 10. The attackers are even using a similar colour scheme to the one used by Microsoft.

Cisco experts have been able to unmask the attackers, establishing that the message actually originated from IP address space allocated to Thailand.

Once a user opens the email, downloads the attached zip file, extracts it, and runs the executable, they get a message informing them that their PC has been infected and their files encrypted by CTB-Locker. They are then told to pay a certain amount of money within 96 hours to have their files decrypted or they lose them forever.

CTB-Locker is a notorious ransomware variant. The malware uses asymmetric encryption that allows the adversaries to encrypt the user’s files without having the decryption key reside on the infected system. Also, by utilizing Tor and Bitcoin they are able to remain anonymous and quickly profit from their malware campaigns with minimal risk.

Cisco recommends keeping a current backup of your files at all times. These backups should be stored offline to prevent them from being targeted by attackers.

Also, would be users of Windows 10 need to know that Microsoft isn’t distributing Windows 10 through email attachments or links embedded in emails. Instead, if you have signed up for the OS, it 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.

1125 days ago

I installed Windows 10 2 days ago. I had a reservation which I checked from the taskbar icon from Microsoft. They do not give actual times when it will download, they do offer an alternative way of getting Windows 10 by creating some type of tool and using a USB or Disc that can be written to. I was able to do the download this way immediately from the taskbar icon created by Microsoft. I just say this as it is a safe way to download 10 if you do not want to wait for your reservation to happen.

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