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Avoid the Your Email Is Out Of Date phishing scam

Also Known As: Your Email Is Out Of Date spam
Damage level: Medium

What is "Your Email Is Out Of Date Email Scam"?

Typically, cyber criminals behind phishing emails such as this attempt to deceive individuals into providing sensitive information. For example, personally identifiable information, banking, credit card details, login credentials (usernames, passwords), etc. In this particular case, cyber criminals seek to trick recipients into providing their Microsoft Office (Office 365) login credentials.

Your Email Is Out Of Date Email Scam email spam campaign

Cyber criminals behind this phishing scam send emails claiming that the email account is out of date and needs to be updated within 24 hours to avoid any possible email delivery (sending and receiving) problems.

The "Click To Upgrade" hyperlink opens a deceptive Microsoft Office login website on which users are asked to re-login by entering their email addresses and passwords used for their MS Office accounts. These websites should never be trusted - cyber criminals behind them use the entered information to steal accounts and misuse them for malicious purposes.

In this case, stolen Office 365 accounts can be misused to access files, photos, and other personal files/data. Depending on the files accessed, cyber criminals could use the data to make fraudulent purchases, spread further phishing emails such as this one, deliver malspam campaigns, steal identities, etc.

Furthermore, they could sell stolen accounts and/or data to third parties (other cyber criminals).

Threat Summary:
Name Your Email Is Out Of Date Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Email account is out of date and needs to be updated within 24 hours.
Disguise This email is disguised as a message from the IT department of a company.
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 Combo Cleaner.
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Examples of other similar email scams are "Mail Quota Email Scam", "Your Account Has Encountered An Error 505 Email Scam" and "OneDrive Email Scam". As mentioned, these emails are sent by cyber criminals who attempt to steal sensitive information by asking users to provide it in deceptive ways.

These emails must never be trusted. Note that cyber criminals often use emails to spread malware (for example, ransomware, Trojans, cryptocurrency miners) though attached files or website links.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Generally, cyber criminals behind malspam campaigns send emails that have a malicious file attached to them, or a link designed to download a malicious file. In any case, their main goal is to deceive recipients into executing a file that installs rogue software.

They usually attach Microsoft Office or PDF documents, executable files (.exe), JavaScript files, or archive files (ZIP, RAR). Note that malicious documents opened with Microsoft Office 2010, or later versions, install malware only if users explicitly allow them to run macros commands (enable editing/content).

These later versions include "Protected View" mode. Note, however, that older versions do not have this feature and install malicious software without asking any permission.

How to avoid installation of malware

All software and files should be downloaded from official websites and through direct links. It is not safe to use any other sources. For example, unofficial pages, Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule, etc.), third party downloaders, or free file hosting pages.

Third party installers should never be used. Attachments and website links in irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened. Software must be activated and updated with tools and/or functions that are provided by official developers.

Other, third party tools can infect computers with malware. It is illegal to use unofficial activation ('cracking') tools to activate licensed software. Keep operating systems safe by regularly scanning them with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite. Keep this software up to date.

If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Your Email Is Out Of Date Email Scam" email message:

Subject: Request For -

 

- Web
Dear esteemed customer,

 

Your email is out of date and you may encounter email delivery problems.

 

We recommend that you update your email within 24 hours to avoid email sending and receiving issues.

Regards,

 

Click To Upgrade
 
- @2020

Screenshot of the deceptive website:

your email is out of date email scam deceptive login page

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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
  • Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

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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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