Sony Afri Mandela Sharing Happiness Award Email Scam

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

"Sony Afri Mandela Sharing Happiness Award" removal guide

What is "Sony Afri Mandela Sharing Happiness Award"?

The "Sony Afri Mandela Sharing Happiness Award" email is sent to many people to trick them into clicking the presented website link. This is a scam presented as a notification of recipients being approved as winners of a large sum of money. This is merely a scam that cannot be trusted. We strongly recommend that you ignore it and do not click the presented link.

Sony Afri Mandela Sharing Happiness Award spam campaign

According to scammers behind this email, the recipient's email was selected as a winner of $900.000.000, a prize established by Sony. Cyber criminals encourage people to provide details such as full name, country, telephone number, sex, age, occupation, nationality, and address. It is mentioned that these details are used for administrative needs only. They also encourage recipients to click the provided link. They supposedly use this website to verify the winners. Note that Sony and the former president of Africa have nothing to do with this email. This is just one of many emails that are presented as notifications of users being selected as winners of a lottery, and so on. In this particular case, this scam is used to collect various personal information that might be used in future crimes. Furthermore, clicking links presented in emails of this type can lead to computer infection with a Trojan. It is likely that hundreds of other people have received this email. As mentioned above, emails of this type should not be trusted. The best option in these cases is to simply ignore them.

Threat Summary:
Name Sony Afri Mandela Sharing Happiness Award Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of one's computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Removal

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There are many examples of scams that are similar to "Sony Afri Mandela Sharing Happiness Award" including "I Know * Is One Of Your Pass", "I'll Begin With The Most Important", and "We Are Not Going To Steal A Lot Of Time". These examples are also used to blackmail people by making statements that are not accurate. Scammers send these emails expecting that some people will fall for the scam. The main goal of these scams is to extort money from innocent people, however, some spam campaigns are also used to infected computers with malware (malicious programs). For example, LokiBot, TrickBot, Emotet, AZORult, and Adwind . They achieve this by sending emails that contain malicious attachments such as Microsoft Office documents, archive files, PDF documents, executable files, and so on. Once opened, these attachments install malicious programs to steal personal details that can be used to generate revenue. For example, passwords, logins, banking details, and so on. Thus, having computers infected with malicious programs of this type can cause financial loss, and problems relating to privacy, browsing safety, and so on.

We receive a great deal of feedback from concerned users about this scam email. Here is the most popular question we receive:

Q: Hi pcrisk.com team, I received an email stating that my computer was hacked and they have a video of me. Now they are asking for a ransom in Bitcoins. I think this must be true because they listed my real name and password in the email. What should I do?

A: Do not worry about this email. Neither hackers nor cyber criminals have infiltrated/hacked your computer and there is no video of you watching pornography. Simply ignore the message and do not send any Bitcoins. Your email, name, and password was probably stolen from a compromised website such as  Yahoo (these website breaches are common). If you are concerned, you can check if your accounts have been compromised by visiting the haveibeenpwned website.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Malicious attachments (or website links) that are presented in emails sent by scammers/cyber criminals can cause computer infections only if they are opened. For instance, if the attachment is a archive file (ZIP, RAR, and so on), it needs to be extracted and its contents executed. If the attached file is a Microsoft Office document (Word, Excel, or other document), it must be opened and macros commands enabled, and so on. Once this is done, the malicious file receives permission to download and install a computer infection.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not open attachments (or website links) presented in suspicious emails or those received from unknown addresses. Generally, these emails are presented as legitimate, however, they are usually irrelevant. Software should be downloaded using official and trustworthy sources. Various third party software downloaders/installers, unofficial websites, and other similar channels should be avoided. Installations should be handled with care - check all the available settings (such as "Advanced", "Custom", and so on), deselect offers to download/install unwanted apps, and only then finish the installation or download process. All updates should be performed using tools and implemented functions provided by official software developers. Use Microsoft Office 2010 or later. These versions include "Protected View" mode that prevents documents from downloading/installing malicious programs. Various software cracking tools can also cause computer infections, and thus these tools should not be used. It is also illegal to use them. Having trustworthy, reputable anti-virus, anti-spyware software installed can detect and remove threats before they can cause any further damage. If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Sony Afri Mandela Sharing Happiness Award" email message:

Subjectt: Approved Winning !
Contact Email : drjoesimon77@gmail.com
Dear e-mail user,
In remembrance to our formal South African late President Nelson Mandela (icon and legend)
Your email has won the Sony Afri Mandela Sharing Happiness Award . In other to claim your $900,000.00 Sony prize winning and to file in for your claims, contact our assigned Claim's Agent Dr Joe Simon.
Agent Contact:
Name : Dr. Joe Simon
Tel : +27- 731 23 5230
Email : drjoesimon77@gmail.com
For administrative needs, provide him with the following information:
Full Names:...................
Country:..................
Private Phone Number:.......... .....
Sex..........................
Age:...........
Occupation:...............
Nationality:.................
Residential Address: .........................
For proper verification of our Previous winners kindly visit the link below:
hxxp://www.care2.com/causes/lottery-winner-who-gave-away-her-entire-prize-dies-of-cancer.html
Your's Sincerely,
Mrs. Eva Newton.
Notification/Information Officer

Instant automatic removal of possible malware infections: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of possible malware infections. Download it by clicking the button below:
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How to remove malware manually?

Manual malware removal is a complicated task - usually it is best to allow antivirus or anti-malware programs to do this automatically. To remove this malware we recommend using Spyhunter for Windows. If you wish to remove malware manually, the first step is to identify the name of the malware that you are trying to remove. Here is an example of a suspicious program running on a user's computer:

malicious process running on user's computer sample

If you checked the list of programs running on your computer, for example, using task manager, and identified a program that looks suspicious you should continue with these steps:

manual malware removal step 1 Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:

screenshot of autoruns application

manual malware removal step 2Restart your computer into Safe Mode:

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

 

manual malware removal step 3Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.

extract autoruns.zip and run autoruns.exe

manual malware removal step 4In the Autoruns application, click "Options" at the top and uncheck the "Hide Empty Locations" and "Hide Windows Entries" options. After this procedure, click the "Refresh" icon.

Click 'Options' at the top and uncheck 'Hide Empty Locations' and 'Hide Windows Entries' options

manual malware removal step 5Check the list provided by the Autoruns application and locate the malware filename that you want to eliminate.

You should write down its full path and name. Note that some malware hides process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage, it is very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate the suspicious program you wish to remove, right click your mouse over its name and choose "Delete".

locate the malware file you want to remove

After removing the malware through the Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware will not run automatically on the next system startup), you should search for the malware name on your computer. Be sure to enable hidden files and folders before proceeding. If you find the filename of the malware, be sure to remove it.

searching for malware file on your computer

Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills. If you do not have these skills, leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it is best to prevent infection than try to remove malware later. To keep your computer safe, install the latest operating system updates and use antivirus software.

To be sure your computer is free of malware infections, we recommend scanning it with Spyhunter for Windows.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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