Ignore the Deactivating All Inactive Accounts phishing email

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

Deactivating All Inactive Accounts email scam removal guide

What is Deactivating All Inactive Accounts email scam?

A phishing attack is a type of cyber crime when cyber criminals/scammers attempt to deceive users into sharing personal information online, it is very common that they perform such attacks via email. In this particular case scammers use a disguised email to trick recipients into believing that they need to verify a certain account as soon as possible, otherwise it will be deactivated. Their main goal is to trick recipients into providing their email credentials.

Deactivating All Inactive Accounts email scam email spam campaign

Scammers behind this phishing scam send emails claiming that recipients need to confirm that their email account is still active because all inactive accounts will be deactivated in 48 hours after receiving this email. These emails contain a website link for a page where visitors are asked to enter their email address and password. Simply said, scammers use that page to steal email credentials. Stolen email accounts could be misused for various malicious purposes, for example, to access sensitive emails, spread this or other phishing scam further, deliver malware, steal identities, trick other people into making money transactions, providing sensitive information, etc. It is worthwhile to mention that scammers may try to steal other accounts as well (the ones that share the same login credentials). Either way, such emails should never be trusted, they should be reported to relevant authorities.

Threat Summary:
Name Deactivating All Inactive Accounts Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Inactive email accounts will be deactivated in 48 hours
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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More examples of more or less similar email scams are "Google Forms Email Scam", "SharePoint Email Scam" and "Account Access Disabled Email Scam". As mentioned in the first paragraph, in most cases scammers behind such emails attempt to trick recipients into providing sensitive, personal information. It is worthwhile to mention that emails can be used not only to extract sensitive details but also to deliver malware/trick users into infecting their computers with malware like ransomware, Trojan-type malware, etc.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cyber criminals who use malspam to deliver malware send emails that have a malicious file attached to them, or contain a download link for some malicious file. In one way or another, the main purpose of such emails is to deceive recipients into downloading and executing a file that is designed to infect computers with certain malware. Examples of files that cyber criminals use in their malspam campaigns are malicious Microsoft Office, PDF documents, executable files (like .exe), JavaScript files, archive files (like ZIP, RAR). It is worthwhile to mention that when malicious documents are opened with Microsoft Office 2010 or newer, then they install malware only if users enable macros commands (enable editing/content) in those documents. It is because the aforementioned versions include the "Protected View" mode. Although, all the older MS Office versions do not have that feature, therefore, when malicious documents are opened with the aforementioned versions, they install malicious software automatically.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Software should not be downloaded via third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), etc., or installed via third party installers. It should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct links. Irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses and contain attachments (or website links) should not be trusted. It is common that emails of this kind are send by cyber criminals who seek to deceive recipients into downloading and opening a file that is designed to install malware. Furthermore, installed programs have to be updated and activated with tools that are provided by their official developers. Other (unofficial, third party) tools tend to be used as tools to distribute malware. Also, it is not legal to activate licensed software with unofficial tools (use 'cracking' tools), or use installers for pirated software. And finally, a computer should be scanned for viruses and other threats regularly, it is advised to do that by using an up-to-date and reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the Deactivating All Inactive Accounts email letter:


Attention ********,
We are deactivating all Inactive ******** accounts
Please confirm if your email is still active by verifying your account now
Click here to verify ********

Note: In 48 hours, all Inactive Administrator accounts will be deactivated.

******** support team

Screenshot of the website that scammers user to steal email credentials:

deactivating all inactive accounts email-scam page used to steal email accounts

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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