The operating system has already been installed on over a dozen million computers, but some users who weren’t careful instead found themselves installing malware. More specifically, an e-mail scam discovered by networking giant Cisco falsely offers users an installation kit for Windows 10.
The scam works as an e-mail sent from an address made to resemble an official Microsoft one. It prompts the user to install Windows 10 by following instruction from an installer attached to it, while also making a summary presentation of the operating system to avoid raising suspicion. It also has a fake disclaimer at the end claiming to have been found virus clean by an e-mail scanning service, which resembles normal prompts for scanned mails.
While going at lengths to appear professional, the mail does have certain indicators such as missing letters or characters which can quickly point towards its real nature. Users who fall for the scheme will not get access to Windows 10, but instead to CTB-Locker – a dangerous form of malware dubbed as “ransomware” by experts.
Basically, the CTB-Locker will encrypt most of your files and then demand that you pay in exchange for a decryption key – sometimes quite a hefty sum. The user will have an aggressive on-screen prompt announcing the encryption, and warning that if the payment is not received within a certain amount of time they will remain permanently encrypted and inaccessible. It will also warn the user not to try and manually get rid of the ransomware by threatening to destroy the decryption key if necessary.
This is one of the more serious types of malware, with connections usually being anonymous and transactions being demanded through bitcoin, so there’s little chance that its mastermind will be identified by law enforcement; and even if they are, the CTB ransomware scam is thought to have originated and still being directed from the Eastern European zone.
The program is also hard to detect by security programs, while the damage it does to some files could be permanent. Your best bet to avoid it is to stay away from any type of mail prompting you to install anything – especially an operating system – if you didn’t request it in the first place. But, just for the added security, backing your files on an external drive would also be recommended and save you a lot of headaches if you ever have a ransomware problem.
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