Avoid getting scammed through A file was shared with you phishing email

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

"A file was shared with you" removal guide

What is "A file was shared with you"?

This is one of the phishing emails which is being sent to users by cyber criminals who attempt to steal sensitive information. It worthwhile to mention that cyber criminals behind phishing emails disguise them as letters from legitimate companies or individuals. In this case recipients supposed to believe that some file regarding a bonus was shared with them and are encouraged to review it by logging into Microsoft account through an official Microsoft sign-in website. The purpose of it is to to trick recipients into granting permissions to some rogue application that allows cyber criminals to steal various data from recipient's Microsoft account. Therefore, neither this or any other similar email can be trusted.

A file was shared with you email spam campaign

Cyber criminals behind this phishing email are requesting recipients to download a file which is disguised as document regarding some bonus payment. Recipients supposed to download it through the provided website link which leads to an official Microsoft sign-in website. The problem with the opened URL is its parameters: "response_time", "redirect uri" and "scope". The first parameter indicates what type of access is requested. In this particular case an ID token and an authorization code are requested. The rogue application exchanges them into an access token which it uses for data access. The second parameter specifies the location to which tokens and authorization codes are sent. In this case to a domain mimicking the legitimate Office 365 entity which is located in Bulgaria. Third parameter contains permissions that a user gives to the aforementioned rogue application. Basically, the main purpose of this phishing attack is to deceive recipients into entering their Microsoft account credentials so they would authenticate themselves through OAuth2 and OIDC protocols. After authentication those protocols authorize an access for the rogue application which can be used by cyber criminals to access Microsoft products and services like Office, Skype, Outlook, OneDrive, etc. To be more precise, to access hosted files, photos, contacts, and other content. Cyber criminals could use accessed information to make fraudulent purchases, spread phishing emails (including this one), scam emails or even malware, steal identities, etc. It depends on the documents and other data that the rogue application would be able to access on user's Microsoft products or services. Therefore, any of this may be avoided by simply ignoring such phishing emails/not approving malicious access to data.

Threat Summary:
Name A file was shared with you Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Email Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Disguise This email is disguised as a letter regarding Q1 bonus
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the 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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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Some more examples of email scams are "Your Google Ads Account Has Been Suspended", "ShareFile Attachment" and "Attn Lucky Winner". In most cases cyber criminals behind them attempt to deceive recipients into providing sensitive information (like login credentials, credit card details) or transferring them money. Although, emails often used to trick recipients into installing malware (e.g., ransomware, Trojans) as well. In one way or another, it is strongly recommended not to provide sensitive or personal information through emails or unknown websites, and open files, links in them.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Malware gets installed through emails when users open malicious attachments or files that were downloaded through website links in them. Some examples of files that cyber criminals often attach to their emails are malicious Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, executable files (like .exe), archive files (like ZIP, RAR), and JavaScript files. It is worthwhile to mention that malicious MS Office documents infect computers only if users give them a permission to enable editing/content (macros commands). Although, malicious documents opened with older than Microsoft Office 2010 versions install malware without asking any permissions because those versions to not include the Protected View mode.

How to avoid installation of malware?

If an email is irrelevant, it is received from suspicious, unknown address, and it contains some attachment (and/or website link), then it should not be trusted.  It is not safe to open files and links that are included in emails of this kind without being sure that it is safe to do that. Software should be downloaded only from official web pages and via direct download links. Peer-to-Peer networks, third party downloaders, unofficial pages, etc., should not be trusted and could be used to proliferate malicious files, programs. Third party installers can be used to distribute malware too. Installed software must be updated and activated (if necessary) through implemented functions and/or tools that are designed by official developers. It is worthwhile to mention that it is illegal to activate licensed software with various third party tools, besides, tools of this kind often are designed to infect computers with malware. And finally, it is important to regularly scan a computer for threats with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite and always keep it up to date. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Official Microsoft sing in page used to provide access for rogue application:

microsoft sign in page used to give rogue application a permission to access data

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. 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 Malwarebytes 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 1Download 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 "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 file 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 Malwarebytes 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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