large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

The Windows 10 Update screen is far more loathsome when it’s actually a virus

PC users have become frustrated with Microsoft badgering them to install Windows 10, but at least those screens won’t commandeer your files and encrypt them.

A new piece of ransomware, dubbed The Fantom, is tricking users with a fake Windows Update screen described as a ‘critical security update’.

Related: Windows 10 Anniversary review: Is it now worth the update?

The undesirables behind this issue have even gone to the lengths to disguise their attack, by listing Microsoft as the creator in the file properties.

If users agree to install the ‘update,’ the fake WindowsUpdate.exe file will open, overlay the entire screen and prevent users from accessing files or opening applications.

Instead of updating the software, Fantom is setting about encrypting the user’s entire hard drive, adding the appendix .fantom to all files.

BleepingComputer reports that pressing Control+F4 will close the screen, but there’s no stopping the encryption of files in the background.

In more unfortunate news, there’s currently no known way to decrypt the files.

Once the process is complete, the victims will be taken to a web url explaining their fate. This features an email address for users to request payment details to get their files back.

Come back real Windows 10 Update screen, all is forgiven!

Forgive us while we briefly imagine a doomsday scenario where Microsoft threatens to encrypt all of our files if we don’t upgrade to Windows 10.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.