Windows 10 users warned about fake Meltdown and Spectre updates

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Windows 10 users are being warned about fake patches for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. The fake patches will deliver dangerous malware to devices that try to install the updates.

The flaws have only recently been identified and the bugs could potentially allow hackers to steal private information. Fixes had already been issued but they reportedly slowed some machines down.

The Redmond-based tech giant also paused the rollout of the fix to AMD processors after users reported their PCs failed to boot after the update.

It seems that scammers are trying to take advantage of the fact the consumers are not rushing to fix the security flaws.

The fake patches look very official and offer advice regarding both Spectre and Meltdown but the information is just another attempt to dupe users.

Describing what happens when victims run the fake patch, Malwarebytes researcher Jerome Segura said: “Upon running it, users will infect themselves with Smoke Loader, a piece of malware that can retrieve additional payloads. 

“Post-infection traffic shows the malicious file attempting to connect to various domains and sending encrypted information.”

The scam initially targeted Windows 10 users in Germany and displayed a website that mimicked the design of a German government website.

Segura added: “Online criminals are notorious for taking advantage of publicised events and rapidly exploiting them, typically via phishing campaigns. 

“This particular one is interesting because people were told to apply a patch, which is exactly what the crooks are offering under disguise.

“It’s always important to be cautious, especially when urged to perform an action (i.e. calling Microsoft on a toll-free number, or updating a piece of software) because there’s a chance that such requests are fake and intended to either scam you or infect your computer. 

“There are very few legitimate cases when vendors will directly contact you to apply updates. If that is the case, it’s always good to verify this information via other online resources or friends first.

“Also, remember that sites using HTTPS aren’t necessarily trustworthy. 

“The presence of a certificate simply implies that the data that transits between your computer and the site is secure, but that has nothing to do with the intentions or content offered, which could be a total scam.”

We recently reported that nearly all computers could be affected although no data breaches have so far been reported.

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