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How to avoid being scammed via the Dropbox phishing email

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

"Dropbox Email Scam" removal guide

What is "Dropbox Email Scam"?

Scammers behind this phishing scam attempt to trick unsuspecting recipients into providing their Microsoft account credentials. They try to deceive people through a link within a PDF document, which is downloaded through a Dropbox shared link contained within another PDF document. This document can be opened through a link within a phishing email. Therefore, do not trust this scam email and, more importantly, do not enter information on the deceptive website.

Dropbox Email Scam email spam campaign

To make this phishing email seem more believable, scammers disguise it as an automated email from Dropbox. It is just one of the many cases whereby scammers exploit the name of a well-known company or organization to trick recipients into believing that a received email is official and legitimate. This email contains a link designed to open PDF document, which contains a Dropbox shared link. This link then opens a Dropbox page that contains another PDF document. The second PDF document contains yet another link, which opens a fake Microsoft sign-in page. The main purpose of this scam is to trick people into entering their Microsoft account credentials so that the scammers responsible can steal their accounts. By entering the aforementioned credentials, users would give scammers access to Microsoft products and services such as Office, Skype, Outlook, OneDrive, etc. They can then access hosted files, photos, contacts, and other personal data. Depending on the type of data accessed, scammers can use it to make fraudulent purchases, spread phishing emails, malspam campaigns, steal identities, etc. They can also sell stolen accounts to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). Therefore, you are strongly advised not to open links or files that are included in dubious emails such as this one.

Threat Summary:
Name Dropbox Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scammers behind this email claim that Eden Sellings shared a document, which can be viewed through the provided link.
Disguise This email is disguised as an automated message from Dropbox.
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)

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There are many email scams online. Some other examples are "Your Local Network Has Been Compromised Email Scam", "Aruba.it Email Scam" and "Transaction Received Into Blockchain Wallet Email Scam". In most cases, the scammers behind them attempt to trick people into making financial transactions or providing sensitive information. The cyber criminals also use emails to deceive recipients into installing malware. Typically, they spread malspam campaigns used to distribute ransomware, Trojans and other malicious programs.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Typically, cyber criminals send emails with a malicious file attached to them, or with a link that downloads a malicious file. In any case, their main goal is to trick recipients into executing a malicious file that causes installation of rogue software. Commonly, they attach malicious Microsoft Office, PDF documents, executable files (.exe), JavaScript files, and archive files (ZIP, RAR). Note that malicious documents opened with Microsoft Office 2010 and other versions released after 2010 do not infect computers automatically - they install malware only if users allow them to run macros commands by enabling editing/content manually. These versions include "Protected View" mode, whereas older versions do not include this feature and install malware automatically without asking any permission.

How to avoid installation of malware

Attachments and website links in irrelevant emails should not be trusted or opened, especially if the emails are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. All software and files should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct download links. It is not safe to use any other channels. Some examples of dubious sources are Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), unofficial pages, free file hosting sites, and third party downloaders. Commonly, channels of this kind are used to distribute unwanted, even malicious programs. Third party installers can also be used. Installed software must be updated and activated only with tools/functions that are provided by official software developers. Third party updaters and activators often infect computers with malicious programs. Furthermore, it is illegal to activate licensed programs with any 'cracking' (unofficial activation) tools. Keep operating systems/computers safe by regularly scanning them with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite, and keep this software up to date. If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Dropbox Email Scam" email message:

I used Dropbox to share a file with you.

 

For security purposes, you would be required to sign into your email address to view.

 

Click here to view.

Screenshot of the PDF document designed to open the Dropbox page:

dropbox email scam pdf document leading to dropbox

Text in this document:

Eden Sellings Shared a file with you using DropBox

Document Sharing Cloud


ACCESS DOCUMENT

 

Kind Regards

The DropBox Team

Screenshot of a second PDF document which contains a link to a fake Microsoft sign-in page:

dropbox email scam pdf document leading to fake microsoft login page

Text in this document:

A private document has been shared with you using DropBox
Share Point Online
ACCESS DOCUMENT
Thanks
Eden

Screenshot of a fake Microsoft account page:

dropbox email scam fake microsoft website 

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Malwarebytes By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

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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.

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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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