Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) was released recently by Microsoft. It’s free for anyone to download and test it before the final version’s finished. A few days before the official release someone posted a copy on a BitTorrent network. Unfortunately this copy was infected with a trojan that downloads more malware. This is very bad. When you install an operating system such as Windows you have to trust the installation. If you can’t trust the operating system then you shouldn’t be using it. What’s wrong with Torrents?
- Don’t download Windows from file sharing systems such as BitTorrent. Get it from Microsoft or one of their vendors.
- If you download free operating systems such as Linux from torrents know how to do a checksum test.
- Don’t use pirated software. Apart from being immoral and illegal, pirated software is often plagued with malware.
What if you already downloaded Windows 7 RC from BitTorrent? The safest thing to do is to download it again from Microsoft’s site, reformat your PC, and reinstall the official version. It can be safely downloaded from: http://www.microsoft.com/Windows/Windows-7/download.aspx As a side note I’d like to point out that Windows 7 RC is a test version, it’s not the finished product. And while it’s free for now it has a couple of restrictions:
- on 1 March 2010 it will start rebooting every 2 hours
- on 1 June 2010 it will completely stop working.
Update: There are now 25,000 PCs infected with the malware as a result of downloading the wrong copy of Windows 7 RC. These 25,000 PCs are being controlled by hackers as part of a botnet.