Fake Windows 11 installer downloads malicious software onto your PC

Windows 11 Install
Windows 11 Install (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • A fake Windows 11 installer has been spotted, which attempts to get people to download malicious software.
  • Software from attacks like this can include adware, malware, password stealers, and other dangerous programs.
  • You can easily test Windows 11 through Microsoft's official channels.

Windows 11 will come out later this year, but people want to try out the new operating system now. Unfortunately, attackers have taken advantage of the excitement around the OS. Kaspersky (opens in new tab) reports that a fake Windows 11 installer is making its way around the web. If people fall for the fake, it can download adware, malware, and other malicious programs on PCs.

One attack utilizes a file by the name of "86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator.exe." This 1.75GB file launches a program that looks like a Windows installation wizard. That's an immediate red flag, as Windows updates go through the Settings app of a PC and don't look like app installers.

As explained by Kaspersky, the first executable file then downloads and runs a second executable file that has a license agreement. If you agree to the terms presented, the program will download malicious software onto your PC.

Fake Windows

Source: Kaspersky (Image credit: Source: Kaspersky)

If you want to test Windows 11 right now, it's easy to sign up to be a Windows Insider. This is an official program from Microsoft and works through Windows Update on your PC. Windows 11 is in beta, so we don't recommend running it on your main computer.

You can also try Windows 11 alongside Windows 10 by using a virtual machine. If you don't want to try the operating system out, our senior editor Zac Bowden has build videos showing Windows 11 in action.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).