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Nasty Windows 11 installers are infecting PCs with malware — download at your own risk

Windows 11 Dynamic refresh rate
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Cybersecurity analysts have discovered fake Windows 11 installers that are sneaking in malicious programs that include annoying adware and nasty password stealers. If you're looking to download Windows 11, be wary of scammers.

Spotted (opens in new tab) by Cybersecurity company Kaspersky, cybercriminals have developer malicious Windows 11 installers that look similar to the regular Windows installation wizard, with a convincing executable file called "86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator.exe." However, it's hiding other unpleasant threats. 

According to the report, the executable is set up to download another one in the form of a download manager. This one includes a license agreement, making it look more official, stating it would install some sponsored programs. Once users click agree, they are met with anything from adware to password-stealing malware. 

Windows 11 fake

(Image credit: Kaspersky)

Kaspersky did not state if anyone had been affected by the malicious installer. Windows 11 will be officially available to all Windows 10 users for free later this year, so don't be tricked into downloading installers from untrustworthy websites.

For those interested in checking out Windows 11 without being tricked, it is now available for those who signed up for the Windows Insider Program. You can register and download the preview build over on Microsoft's official site.  

A Windows 11 beta is set to launch starting in July so testers can get their hands on the operating system and provide valuable feedback before the worldwide launch. To stay clear of any malware threats, be sure to install the upcoming OS from Microsoft's official site. In the meantime, check out our thoughts in our Windows 11 preview

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.