There's a very serious ransomware scam targeting Windows users trying to upgrade to Windows 10. If you click the link in this email, it will download a virus that locks your computer and holds it hostage until you pay up.
This one is particularly dangerous because it's so timely. Right now you might be waiting for your upgrade to Windows 10 as Microsoft gradually rolls out the new version. It's easy to imagine how somebody could fall for this scam if they're not paying attention.
This tricky email appears as if it's from Microsoft. It even uses the address "firstname.lastname@example.org," and the body of the email encourages you to download an attached .zip file to install Windows 10. Do NOT download and install this file.
Microsoft is not emailing customers with the Windows 10 upgrade. That should be your very first clue. Your current Windows operating system will notify you when your upgrade is available. There will be a notification in your toolbar. You won't get any email.
If you do make the mistake of downloading and installing the ransomware, all your files and documents will be locked by unbreakable encryption. You'll have to pay the hackers if you want them back.
Cisco was the company that first discovered and documented this scam. The networking company made a video showing how the email scam works.
Remember, Microsoft is NOT emailing Windows 10 upgrades. But on top of that, there are some other red flags in the email. First, the IP address of the sender is actually in Thailand, not the US. Second, there will probably be some parsing problems with the email text. Third, it tries to trick you by telling you it was scanned for virus "MailScanner." This is a classic trick to make you think the email is safe. It's all part of the disguise.
Your best insurance against this sort of scam, especially if you're at risk of someone less informed installing the ransomware on your machine, is to ensure that you back up all of your data and store it offline. We at Komando.com never recommend paying the ransom to the hackers.