Cyber Attacker Using Fake “Updates”

updatesCyber criminals are using fake software “updates” to trick company employees into downloading Trojan horse malware to allow the attackers to gain access to the company network.

This is an especially nasty bit of trickery, as we advise our clients repeatedly to keep their software and operating systems updated to maintain the security and integrity of the software.

Once the malware is installed the cyber attackers are able to move around the company network and exfiltrate user names, passwords, proprietary files and confidential data, and monitor online traffic in order to read emails and take over online banking transactions.

I have not seen instances of fake update alerts myself, but I will be watching and sharing pictures of what I find.  I suspect that some of these “update” request may be arriving via email instead of popping up in the corner of the task bar in the way the Windows, Adobe, Java, and security software updates typically do.  As a general rule, I would treat any email requiring me to click a link to download an update with extreme suspicion.

Another option is to run updates only from with the application itself.  In other words, when you get an alert to update something like Adobe Reader, open the Reader application, and run the update from the Help menu option.  Windows Updates can be safely run from the Control Panel applet.

Remember, just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they are not out to get you.  Because they are.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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