After Microsoft announced that it was officially ending any technical assistance, software updates or bug fixes for its predominant Windows 7 operating system, many scrambled to update their system to Windows 10. This led to a large number of users falling prey to a phishing attack.
As reported by Cofense, several fake campaigns aimed at taking advantage of the Windows upgrade advice are surfacing recently. Explicitly crafted towards businesses slacking in their system updates, the phishing email asks users to upgrade their operating system to Windows 10 scheduled for that day.
The blog reports the email subject to have “RE:” as a prefix to instill panic or urgency in users who might think they have missed an important email thread. The attackers have even displayed benefits the users can attain from the upgrade, including ‘COVID-19 Employee Symptom Tracker’. Despite being an obvious ploy to lure the victims into giving up their Outlook login credentials, many have fallen for it.
Forbes suggests the current work-from-home conditions and Windows 10 prices ranging from $139 (Windows 10 Home) to $199 (Windows 10 Pro) could be reasons for the attackers to prey on the desperation of the people trying to save a few bucks.
Can Windows 7 be upgraded for free?
Microsoft ended its offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10 four years ago. However, Forbes claims that users with ‘genuine’ licensed copies of Windows 7 are still able to upgrade their operating system at no cost.
Here is how they claim to upgrade your Windows 7 to Windows 10, while also putting a disclaimer that it might or might not work for you.
“Head for the Microsoft software download page and follow the ‘media creation tool’ for instructions to upgrade. Providing you have a genuine Windows 7 product key, one that is associated with the machine you want to upgrade in and currently activated, there shouldn’t be any requirement to enter a key during the process.
However, it is advisable to make a backup before attempting the upgrade. If you do run into any problems, there are some useful troubleshooting tips in this guide.”
Many cybersecurity experts have advised the Windows users to upgrade their operating system as soon as possible, while also asking the companies to train their employees in recognising any cyber threats without help from the IT department.