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Researchers Warn of Fake Windows 11 Upgrade Containing Info Stealing Malware

The malware steals data from web browsers and crypto-wallets.


Cybercriminals are tricking users into installing a fake Windows 11 upgrade that includes malware that steals data from web browsers and crypto-wallets. The malicious campaign that is still running operates by poisoning search results to drive traffic to a website impersonating Microsoft’s Windows 11 advertising page and offering the information stealer. 

According to CloudSEK threat researchers who analyzed the malware and published a technical report, malicious actors are focusing on people who rush to install Windows 11 without first learning that the OS must satisfy specific requirements. 

The rogue website advertising the false Windows 11 has official Microsoft logos, favicons, and a “Download Now” button. It looks legitimate at first glance, but the URL reveals the site as fraudulent. If visitors access the malicious website directly (download is not possible via TOR or VPN), they will receive an ISO file containing the executable for new information-stealing malware. 

The CloudSEK researchers named the new malware 'Inno Stealer' as it uses the Inno Setup Windows Installer. The researchers said that Inno Stealer has no code in common with other presently circulating info-stealers. Once active, the malware plants a pair of files that disable various Windows security measures, including those in the registry. They also wipe out software from anti-virus companies Emsisoft and ESET. 

Inno Stealer’s capabilities are typical for this kind of malware, including the ability to collect web browser cookies and passwords, data from cryptocurrency wallets, and data from the disk. The set of targeted browsers and crypto wallets is extensive, including Chrome, Edge, Brave, Opera, Vivaldi, 360 Browser, and Comodo. 

The malware can also steal extra payloads, an action only performed at night, potentially to take advantage of the victim’s absence from the computer. These additional Delphi payloads, which are TXT files, use the same Inno-based loader that fiddles with the host’s security tools and employs an identical persistence methodology. They also have the ability to grab clipboard data and exfiltrate directory enumeration data. 

To mitigate the risks, researchers recommended avoiding downloading ISO files from obscure sources and instead undertaking significant OS updates using the Windows 10 control panel or obtaining the installation files directly from the source. If you can’t upgrade to Windows 11, there’s no point in attempting to bypass the limitations manually since this will come with a slew of drawbacks and severe security risks.
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