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Look out for fake Windows 11 installers! This mistake can put you at risk

Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has warned people against downloading Windows 11 from unverified sources as the installer is most likely to contain malware

The anticipation around Windows 11 is palpable, and so is the risk. Cybercriminals have floated several malware-riddled fake installers in the guise of Windows 11, warned cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, targeting unsuspecting users.

If you choose to install the OS update from unverified source, you might be getting a fake installer that can place malicious software on your computer.

In a recent blog, Kaspersky elaborated that cybercriminals deceive users is by slipping in extra programs with Windows 11 update, or posting malware with a file name that looks like an update. It cited the example of an executable file doing the rounds, named 86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator.exe.

The 1.75 GB file looks legitimate. But most of this space consists of one DLL file that contains a lot of useless information.

Running the executable file (.exe) starts the installer, which looks like an ordinary Windows installation wizard. Its main purpose is to download and run a second executable. The second executable is an installer as well, which even has a license agreement, marked as “download manager for 86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator”. It mentions that it would install some sponsored software. If you accept the agreement, a variety of malicious programs will be installed on your machine, Kaspersky said.

The company said it has detected several hundred such infection attempts related to fake Windows 11 installer. A large portion of this malware consists of downloaders, that primarily download and run other programs.

Windows 11 is the first upgrade for the popular operating system in six years. Microsoft had said that it would end the Windows line-up after Windows 10, so this was a welcome surprise for PC fans.

The stable build of Windows 11 is still in the works, but a pre-release build has been made available for those who need it. This include software developers, who need the OS for optimising their software are iron out any kinks before the final build is released. Tech journalists are also using the software to get familiar with the changes that might be rolled out with the Windows 11 upgrade. There are also are enthusiasts who are using the OS for its novelty.

Microsoft has allowed users to download this pre-release build for Windows from in a very easy manner. But some users prefer to visit other websites for their software. This can put some unwanted programs on their computer, which can anything from annoying to dangerous.

To avoid such misadventures, it is recommended that users download Windows 11 from official sources only, as Microsoft advises.

So far, Windows 11 is officially available only to participants in the Windows Insider program, which requires registration. A compatible devices  with Windows 10 installed is also a must.

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