Beware! There is a massive email scam making the rounds promising free Windows 10 upgrade. Security experts at Cisco discovered that hackers have launched a new spamming campaign that takes over your PC if you fall for it. Users receive an email that appears to come from a Microsoft address (firstname.lastname@example.org). But when Cisco security team tracked the IP address of the sender, they found that the emails originated from Thailand.
You may fall victim to ransomware
Users can easily fall prey because the email seems legitimate. It has the same color scheme that Microsoft has been using in its Windows 10 promotional campaign. The email asks users to download a .zip file to upgrade to Windows 10 for “free.” Cisco said in a blog post that the attacker is impersonating Microsoft to exploit the software giant’s large user base for monetary gains.
If you download and install the .zip file, you are actually installing something called ransomware on your PC. Ransomware takes control of your computer and tricks you into paying the scammer who created it. The malicious software encrypts all your media files, documents, and other important stuff. Then you get a message that warns you of losing all your photos, documents, movies, and other files unless you pay the attacker within 96 hours.
Microsoft is NOT upgrading PCs to Windows 10 via email
The attacker usually asks you to pay them in Bitcoin because this digital currency is untraceable. That’s the key reason ransomware has been growing leaps and bounds. Cisco said ransomware will continue to grow in the near future because it has proved effective for attackers to monetize PCs they compromise. Microsoft started rolling out Windows 10 on July 29, and more than 14 million users upgraded to the new OS in just 24 hours.
To avoid falling prey to such phony emails, remember that Microsoft is not upgrading devices to Windows 10 via email. Windows 7 and 8.1 users eligible for the upgrade would see the ‘Get Windows 10’ icon on the taskbar. If you are running legitimate Windows 7 or 8.1, but the upgrade icon doesn’t appear on your PC’s taskbar, follow this process.