Australians targeted by Windows 10 phishing attacks

Spam emails contain .zip files claiming to be free upgrade

Ransomware masquerading as an upgrade to Windows 10 has been affecting Australian businesses and consumers.

According to the federal government’s Stay Smart Online service, the ransomware is delivered in an email claiming to be from Microsoft offering a free upgrade to Windows 10.

The spam contains a .zip file attachment, which contains a program labelled as the Windows 10 installer. When run, the program will encrypt important files, including Word documents and photos on the computer.

Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users should have a Windows 10 icon on their taskbar that they are able to click to determine if their system is compatible and reserve their copy of the free upgrade.

The icon Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users should click to upgrade to Windows 10
The icon Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users should click to upgrade to Windows 10

Users that do not have this icon are advised to register at Microsoft’s official website. Under no circumstances will Microsoft send an email with the free upgrade offer.

Security researchers at Cisco provided detailed technical information on the attack on the company’s blog, along with a video showing the consequences of running the ransomware program.

The Federal government is advising business users to check upgrades with IT departments instead of attempting to perform upgrades themselves.

Businesses are also advised to stay vigilant in protecting existing computer systems, ensuring that critical data is backed up in case an attack occurs. Encrypted data could then be recovered from backup copies.

Unlike previous ransomware campaigns, the current Windows 10 attack does not use exploits, and relies instead on the user being deceived into running the malware.

As always, Stay Smart Online does not recommend infected users pay the ransom under any circumstances as the attacker would then be able to encrypt files a second time.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Microsoftphishing attacksransomwareWindows 10Spam Emails

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Chris Player
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?