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By Remar Sutton, Consumer Spokesperson
Are you eager to get Windows 10? It’s Microsoft’s free upgrade to its operating system (OS) for desktops, laptops, and tablets running Windows 7 and 8.1. Although Microsoft is widely advertising this upgrade, you can’t just go download it immediately. Instead, upgrades must be reserved at Microsoft and then Microsoft will notify you when your Windows 10 upgrade is ready. Notification may take days or weeks.
Scammers have seized on this delayed update method. They are using spoofed emails (fakes that look real) to distribute “ransomware” malware that encrypts the files on your computer. The spoof email claims that the attachment is an installer for the operating system upgrade. Paying the ransom is the only way to get the decryption key.
The only way to receive the Microsoft 10 upgrade is to follow these instructions from Microsoft.
This Cisco Blog post provides a detailed description of the scam including screen shots.
The Bottom Line for Upgrade Security: Whenever you upgrade software of any kind, including Windows programs, always initiate the upgrade yourself at the manufacturer’s website or at an official and reliable retail website.
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