Do not trust the Mail Quota phishing email

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

"Mail Quota Email Scam" removal guide

What is "Mail Quota Email Scam"?

In most cases cyber criminals behind phishing emails like this one attempt to obtain sensitive information like login credentials (passwords, emails, etc.), credit card details and/or other details that could be misused for malicious purposes. In this particular case scammers attempt to deceive recipients into entering their Microsoft Outlook credentials (email address and password).

Mail Quota Email Scam email spam campaign

Scammers behind this email claim that recipient's mailbox size has reached 1990.08MB, which is 99% of the imposed 2058.00MB quota. In order to prevent the mailbox from exceeding its default email account space limitation recipients supposed to update email quota by logging in through the provided website link. The link in this email is designed to open a fake Microsoft Outlook login website (larkspurandtea[.]com), scammers behind this email and website attempt to trick recipients into providing them MS Outlook login credentials so they could steal not only Outlook but possibly the whole Microsoft account or other accounts with the same login credentials. By entering the aforementioned credentials recipients would provide cyber criminals an access not only to Outlook but also to other Microsoft products and services like Office, Skype, OneDrive, etc. Which means scammers then may be able to access hosted files, photos, contacts, and other personal files/data. Depending on accessed data cyber criminals may use it to make fraudulent purchases, spread phishing emails like this one, malspam campaigns, steal identities, and so on. Also, they could sell stolen accounts and/or accesses data, information to third parties/other cyber criminals. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to ignore this email and never enter credentials on any unofficial, deceptive website.

Threat Summary:
Name Mail Quota Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scammers behind this email claim that recipients email inbox is almost full
Disguise This phishing email is disguised as a letter from recipient's email service provider (Outlook)
Related Domain larkspurandtea[.]com
Detection Names CyRadar (Malicious), Emsisoft (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), Kaspersky (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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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Some examples of similar email scams are "Propuesta Comercial Email Scam", "Your Device Was Not Properly Secured Email Scam" and "2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO Email Scam". In most cases scammers behind them attempt to trick recipients into providing some sensitive information or transferring them a certain amount of money. What is worse, emails can be used for other malicious purposes such as distribution of malware too. In such cases emails contain a malicious attachment or website link. Typically, malspam campaigns are used to trick recipients into installing some Trojan, ransomware, cryptocurrency miner or other malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

As a rule, cyber criminals behind malspam campaigns send emails with some malicious file (attachment) or a website link of a download page for a malicious file in them. Either way, their main purpose is to deceove recipients into executing a malicious file that would install malicious software. Some examples of files that most cyber criminals attach to their emails are malicious Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, archive files (like ZIP, RAR), executable files (like .exe), JavaScript files. It is worthwhile to mention that when users open malicious documents with MS Office 2010 or never, then they are asked to enable editing/content (macros commands). In other words, malicious documents cannot install malware without getting such permission. Although, older versions install malicious software automatically, it is because they do not include the "Protected View" mode).

How to avoid installation of malware?

Software should not be downloaded (or installed) via third party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule) and channels, tools that are. All software (and files) should be downloaded only from official pages and via direct links. Irrelevant emails that are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses and contain attachments (or web links) should not be trusted. Their contents should not be opened without being completely sure that it is safe/will not lead to installation of malicious software. Furthermore, installed programs must be updated and/or activated through tools or functions that are designed by official developers. None of the other, third party tools can be trusted/should be used - they can be and often are designed to infect computers with malware. Besides, it is not legal to bypass activation of licensed software with unofficial activation ('cracking') tools. And finally, any computer is safer when it is regularly scanned with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software that is always up-to-date..

Text presented in the "Mail Quota Email Scam" email letter:

Subject: PENDING UNREAD MESSAGES

Mail Quota: (99% Full)


Attention: -

Your mailbox size has reached 1990.08MB, which is over 90% of your 2058.00MB quota.Please login through webapp to delete some messages to avoid exceeding your quota


NOTE: FAILURE TO UPDATE EMAIL QUOTA YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SEND / RECEIVE EMAILS

Update Email Quota

Source:  Mail Admin For  -

Screenshot of a fake Outlook login website:

mail quota fake outlook page

Another variant of Mail Quota scam email:

Mail Quota Email Scam (2020-08-12)

Text presented within:

Subject: - quota full: (98% full)

Message from -.
 
Your mail box is almost full, this can stop keep incoming emails from arriving.
Use the link below to get more free space.

Click Here - - & Upgrade

Regards,
- notification
 
This message is auto-generated from -. security server, and replies sent to this email can not be delivered.
This email is meant for: -.

Another example of Mail Quota-themed spam email used to promote a phishing website:

Mail Quota-themed spam email used to promote phishing website (2020-08-19)

Text presented within:

Subject: -  Storage Alert for - Account User -


-  Storage Alert
for - Account User:  -
Dear ( - )

Your email account ( - ) has reached its quota limit,

To avoid email loss,  click here to increase your storage

After verification, extra security features will be activated on  -server Panel and your account will be safe for use.


Source: - Team 2020

Screenshot of the promoted phishing website:

Phishing website promoted via Mail Quota-themed spam email

A Portuguese variant of Mail Quota-themed spam email:

Portuguese mail quota-themed spam email

Text presented within:

Subject: ATENÇÃO: Sua caixa de entrada está quase cheia - #IIONWXOQZ

WEBMAIL

Sua caixa de entrada está quase cheia.

18251 MB         20480 MB
Current size         Maximum size

Cota de armazenamento baixa, você foi suspenso de receber documentos maiores que 25 KB

Você pode atualizar para um plano adicional de 5650 MB gratuitamente agora.

Clique aqui para aumentar o seu espaço de email

ID de mensagem: ZJ23 # 3UF5UFFVK2TYMYJFF0NZ

Com os melhores cumprimentos

Web Administrator

This email was sent to
Organization:  Safety Corporation., All rights reserved. @2020

Yet another variant of Mail Quota-themed spam email:

Mail Quota-themed spam email (2020-10-05 - sample 1)

Text presented within:

Subject: Incoming Messages Restricted!!!


Incoming Messages Restricted

Dear *******
New update which brings a major security feature to emails, We are upgrading our Email server and this might affect some email accounts, You are advised to verify and re-confirm your email account in other to continue using our email services and  to get a vital upgrade that should help keep your Outlook inbox far safer and free from annoying and malicious spam.

You have some new messages in your email quarantine.
User Account:  *******  

Click Here to Update and Deliver Message(s) to your inbox folder:
 

Quarantined email
     Recipient:    Subject:    date:
Release    *******    Incoming Transfer from Sale@.... [HSBC]    1/7/2020
Release    *******    Re: Re: Contract | INVOICE COPY |  *******    10/7/2020
Release    *******    Re: SALES ORDER CONFIRMATION SO: 0047529    15/7/2020
Release    *******    Shipment 873017357362 Notification    17/7/2020
Deliver all messages (10)

Note: This message was sent by the system for notification only. Please do not reply

If this message lands in your spam folder, please move it to your inbox folder for proper interagtion:  Click Here

Note: Failure to verify your e-mail account,will result to suspension of incoming emails and data lost.
Thank you for using our service.

rcs.lt Administrator Security Team.

Yet another variant of Mail Quota-themed spam email:

Mail Quota-themed spam email (2020-10-05 - sample 2)

Text presented within:

Subject: [ ***** ] WARNING: “*************” email account is almost full.

 

Mailbox quota notification for "*************".
     
The "*************" email account is almost full.

The email account currently uses 85.72% (877.77 MB/1 GB) of its capacity.

In order to prevent the loss of any future email and get more space. Use the Email Disk Usage tool at hxxps://*****/?goto_app=*************_DiskUsage, or ask the system administrator to upgrade your account to a larger quota.

The system generated this notice on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 4:02:36 AM UTC.
You can disable the "Quota::MailboxWarning" type of notification through the cPanel interface: hxxps://*****:2083/?goto_app=ContactInfo_Change

Do not reply to this automated message.

 sea
cP
Copyright© 2020 cPanel, L.L.C.

 Yet another similar spam email used for phishing purposes:

Mailbox is full spam email

Text presented within:

Subject: ERROR ID: Mail-box storage full UPGRADE NOW!!!

- Mailbox is full.

     
2.36 GB    1.98 GB
Your mailbox can no longer send or receive messages. update your storage
 

UPDATE STORAGE

Mailbox address:
-

Example of yet another similar phishing mail:

Mail-quota themed phishing email (2020-11-06)

Text presented within:

Subject: *****: E-Mail Administrator

Your mailbox is almost full.

  1. ********,
  2.       4096MB
    Current size         Maximum size
    You are running out of space and soon you will not be able to receive messages.

Click Here: ******** to increase size automatically.


Thanks,

***** Mail System Administrator

Screenshot of a fake Webmail login site promoted via this email:

Fake Webmail login site promoted via Mail Quota-themed spam email

Yet another mail-quota-themed spam email used to promote a phishing website:

Mail-quota-themed spam email promoting a phishing website (2020-11-17)

Text presented within:

Subject: EMAIL NOTIFICATION

Dear User
You have (3) three pending delivery on your email portal.
The messages can viewed by the subject of each message to -
User ID: -


Subject    Receipent    Date
Pending     RE: Bank Account on Invoices     To: -     16-10-2020
Pending     RE:RE: Enquiry     To: -     16-10-2020
Pending     RE:RE:RE:RE Outstanding payments     To: -     16-10-2020

REDEEM MESSAGES

Sincerely
Netease Admin (c) 2020 Secured Services

Screenshot of the promoted phishing site (abs-nks[.]com):

Phishing website (abb-nks.com) promoted via mail-quota-themed spam email

Yet another similar spam email used to promote a phishing website:

Mail quota-themed spam email promoting a phishing website

Text presented within:

Subject: Syncing Error - (6) Incoming failed mails.

 

Email Security Alert for ********

Dear ********

Our server detects that your email storage has exceeded its limit and needs to be upgraded immediately

Click here now to upgrade your email storage

If you fail to comply, we will lock your account and all email data will be permanenly lost.

Source: Email Administrator

Screenshot of the promoted phishing website:

Phishing website promoted via mail quota-themed spam emails

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.

Quick menu:

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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possible malware infections QR code
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