Kingston Police warn of pirated Microsoft Office containing malware

Image by Sabine Kroschel.

Kingston Police have released details on a scam in which cybercriminals are distributing a “free” pirated version of Microsoft Office.

According to a media release from police, the pirated software has been found “across trending websites,” and is actually malware.

“If you download and install it, the malware can begin collecting your personal data,” Kingston Police stated.

“If you download the malicious Microsoft Office file, the installation process appears to be legitimate. The installer looks professional and even allows you to select the version of Microsoft Office you would like to install. However, if you run the file, malware will install on your computer.”

In the release, police noted that the malware is designed to avoid detection from most antivirus systems. Even if your antivirus software scans and removes it, this particular malware can re-install itself afterward.

“This ‘free’ version of Microsoft may actually cost you something after all, your personal data!” police expressed.
 
The local police force shared these tips to help you avoid falling victim to a malware scam:

  • Never download software from unofficial sources. A pirated version of the software isn’t an official release, and it may contain malware. 
  • If something is too good to be true, it probably is. Microsoft Office is a software that you would normally pay for, and a free version isn’t likely to be legitimate.
  • If you work for a business or organization, be sure to follow their instructions regarding antivirus software and data backups. Having updated software and data backups can help to protect your machine from a malware infection.

“Stop, look, and think. Don’t be fooled by the scammers.”

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