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Sun 10 May 2009 09:00 AM

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Cybercriminals hacking away at near-final Windows 7

Microsoft has seen versions of their latest operating system being illegally distributed with malware

Cybercriminals hacking away at near-final Windows 7
Microsoft has seen versions of their latest operating system being illegally distributed with malware

While Microsoft is celebrating putting its final touches to its new Windows 7 operating system, cybercriminals are already cashing in by hawking the software’s release candidate to people loaded with malware.

The near-final Windows 7 was made available to the public last week as a download through its official website but Joe Williams, general manager of Worldwide Genuine Windows at Microsoft, revealed that the software is also being illegally circulated.

"In the last few days we've seen reports of illegitimate distributions of the release candidate of our latest Windows operating system, Windows 7, being offered in a way that is designed to infect a customer's PC with malware," Williams said in an interview published on the company’s website

"It's so important for customers to get their copies of Windows from a trusted source," he added.

Research from Microsoft shows that up to a third of customers worldwide may be running counterfeit copies of Windows and the company is hoping Windows 7 won’t add to the statistics.

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