We’re seeing schemes that are taking advantage of the buzz around the upcoming developer preview release of Windows™ 9 this September.
One of the threats we saw was found using some combinations of keywords like Windows 9, free, leak and download in popular search engines.
It involves a potentially malicious website that offers what appears to be a free download of the yet-to-be-released Windows OS.
Figure 1. Blog offering free Windows 9 download
Users who click the ‘Download Now’ button will be redirected to a download page provided by the file-hosting service Turbobit.net. The file being offered as a free download is 5.11 GB in total size.
Figure 2. Turbobit download page
Users who proceed with the download are brought to another page that prompts users to install a video file download manager.
Figure 3. Notifications offering users to download VideoPerformanceSetup.exe
The file (VideoPerformanceSetup.exe) is an adware detected as ADW_BRANTALL.GA. Upon further analysis, the 5.11 GB file instead downloads a reskinned Windows 7 SP1 64-bit bundled with a handful of software utilities, rather than a ‘leaked’ copy of Windows 9. The default language setting for the installation is Portuguese (Brazil).
More Threats Leveraging the Windows 9 Hype
We found two more threats capitalizing on the Windows 9 hype. The first is similar to the one above – another blog offering a free download of Windows 9 behind a file hosting service link. That’s where the similarity ends however, as the downloaded file is a completely different one – one detected as ADW_INSTALLREX.GA. When executed, this adware downloads files detected as ADW_WAJADH, ADW_SPROTECT, and ADW_MULTIPLUG respectively.
Figure 4. Blog page offering free Windows 9 download
We also found a YouTube video page with the download link provided in the video’s description. Clicking the link in the description downloads two files – one labeled as Keygen.exe and the other as Setup.exe. Both are detected by Trend Micro as ADW_OUTBROWSE.GA
Figure 5. YouTube page offering free Windows 9 download
The download links in both abovementioned cases are verified to be grayware.
Other threats that we’ve spotted at the time of this writing involve blogs with similar content, but instead of grayware, their payloads mostly involve redirecting to phishing scams that go after the user’s mobile phone number.
This influx of threats taking advantage of Windows 9’s rumored developer preview release date further proves what we’ve been saying all along: that cybercriminals will always use what is currently popular to bait their potential victims. We’ve seen this kind of cybercriminal activity come up again and again with similar events, so it’s safe to assume that the amount of threats using Windows 9 as a lure will continue to increase as time goes on. The fact that it’s not even the official release – it’s just a preview – shows just how much cybercriminals are intent on cashing in on the hype. We may see even more after the release of the actual retail code itself, with malware posing as ‘cracked’ or ‘free’ versions.
Trend Micro blocks all threat components involved in this malicious campaign.
With additional analysis by Arabelle Ebora, Anisalam Moner, Christian Potencia and Christopher So
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