Watchout! This Fake Chrome Update Spreads Ransomware – What You Need to Know to Stay Safe | #ransomware | #cybercrime

Malicious hackers use fake but realistic-looking Chrome update pages to trick users into downloading ransomware and other malware.

Updated Oct 27, 2023 | 05:13 PM IST

Fake Chrome Update Spreads Ransomware – What You Need to Know to Stay Safe


  • Realistic fake Chrome updates infect thousands globally
  • Malware belongs to notorious ransomware families
  • New tactics make campaign harder to detect

A dangerous new malware campaign is targeting Google Chrome users by pretending to be a browser update. This fake update secretly installs ransomware and other malicious software onto victims’ computers.

The malware first appeared in late 2022 but has recently evolved with new tactics to evade detection. Security experts are warning all Chrome users to be on high alert for this threat.

How the Malware Spreads

The attackers use hacked websites to display realistic-looking Chrome update pages. Unknowing victims click on a “Download” or “Update” button, which triggers the malware download.

The malware payload belongs to the notorious Zgrat and Redline Stealer families, known for ransomware and data theft.

The hackers constantly switch domains and infect new websites to keep their campaign going. They have infected thousands of sites globally, leveraging Google Tag Manager scripts.

Stealthy New Tricks

This fake update campaign stands out for its craftiness and evasive maneuvers. The hackers remotely monitor downloads via Telegram channels to see who’s falling victim.

They have tweaked the malware to remove traces of Russian language, even though the group is likely Russian-speaking.

The malicious fake update pages mimic the look and wording of legitimate Chrome versions. This tricks users into thinking an urgent browser update is required.

How to Stay Safe

  • Never download anything from pop-up alerts urging a browser update. Instead go directly to for any updates.
  • Use anti-malware software and a firewall to block suspicious downloads.
  • Make sure all software, including Chrome, is updated to the latest real versions.
  • Back up your computer regularly in case you do get infected.
  • If you downloaded a fake update, disconnect from the internet immediately and contact an IT security specialist. Acting fast can prevent serious damage.

The cybersecurity landscape changes rapidly, and users must be vigilant against social engineering campaigns like this fake Chrome update. Always exercise caution online and keep your critical software patched and protected.

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