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Avoid being scammed by the "stopped processing incoming emails" message

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium

What is the "Stopped processing incoming emails" scam message?

"Stopped processing incoming emails" is a spam phishing campaign. This term refers to a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive/scam emails are sent. These messages claim that recipients' email accounts have been suspended and incoming mail is no longer reaching the inbox. To recover the accounts, they must supposedly be updated.

Note that all information provided by "Stopped processing incoming emails" is false. The purpose of this spam campaign is to trick recipients into attempting to sign-in to their email accounts through the promoted phishing site, thereby unintentionally exposing their log-in credentials (i.e. passwords) to the scammers.

Stopped processing incoming emails spam campaign

The "Stopped processing incoming emails" scam messages (the subject/title "WARNING:- update your account" might vary) inform recipients that incoming emails are no longer reaching their inboxes. The reason for this fake account suspension is supposedly users' refusal to update their accounts. Therefore, email services were suspended by the provider and access to the accounts, restricted.

To recover their email accounts, recipients are instructed to click the "Update Account Here" button and update them. This button leads to a phishing website, which is presented as a log-in page to users' email accounts.

Any information (i.e. passwords) entered into this site are recorded and delivered to the scammers behind the spam campaign. Therefore, by trusting these "Stopped processing incoming emails" message, users have their email accounts stolen.

If attempts to log into email accounts through this phishing website have already been made, you are advised to immediately change the exposed passwords. Additionally, it is recommended that you change the log-in credentials of any accounts associated with the email address. It is also important to contact the official support of all potentially compromised accounts/services.

Email accounts are of particular interest to scammers, as they are often connected/registered with others. Through hijacked emails, criminals may gain access to accounts tied with them.

For example, scammers can use stolen communication accounts (e.g. emails, messengers, social networking, social media, etc.) to ask contacts/friends for loans and to proliferate malware (by sharing infectious files) under the guise of the genuine owner.

Accounts that directly or indirectly deal with financial information (e.g. store credit card details) such as banking, digital wallet, online money transferring, e-commerce, etc. can be used to make fraudulent transactions and online purchases.

To summarize, trusting "Stopped processing incoming emails" scam can result in serious privacy issues, system infections, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Stopped Processing Incoming Emails Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim recipients' mail accounts have been suspended and require updates.
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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"Verify Microsoft Account Email Scam", "Amazon Customer Care Email Scam" and "National UK Lottery" are some examples of other phishing spam campaigns. Scam emails are typically presented as "official", "urgent", "important", "priority" and so on.

As well as phishing, spam mail is also used for various other scams and even malware proliferation (e.g. Trojans, ransomware and other malicious programs). Due to the relative prevalence of deceptive mail, you are strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Typically, ransomware and other malware is distributed through malspam campaigns, fake software updating tools, untrusted download sources, unofficial (third party) software activation tools and Trojans. Users infect computers with malware when they open malicious files that they receive via email.

These emails often contain malicious attachments or websites designed to download dangerous files. In most cases, cyber criminals send emails that have Microsoft Office documents, archive files (ZIP, RAR), PDF documents, JavaScript files, and executable files such as .exe attached to them. Fake software updating tools do not update or fix any installed software - they simply install malware instead.

They can also infect systems by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software. Examples of dubious file/software download channels are Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, various free file hosting sites and freeware download websites.

Users infect computers through these channels when they download and execute malicious files, which are often disguised as legitimate and regular. Software 'cracking' tools supposedly activate licensed software free of charge (illegally), however, rather than activating anything, they often install malicious programs.

Trojans are rogue programs that, if installed, install other malware (causing chain infections).

How to avoid installation of malware

Do not trust irrelevant emails that have files attached (or contain website links) and are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Software should not be downloaded or installed through third party downloaders, installers, unofficial pages or other similar sources/tools.

Use only official websites and direct links. Installed software should never be updated or activated with third party, unofficial tools, since they can install malware. Furthermore, it is illegal to use third party tools to activate licensed software.

The only legitimate way to update and activate software is to use tools and functions that are provided by the official developers. Regularly scan your computer with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and 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 "Stopped processing incoming emails" scam email message:

Subject: WARNING:- update your account
 
Hello postmaster,

 

We have stopped processing incoming emails

 

Due to your refusal to update your account and as a result,we are forced to lock your account and all your services will be suspended.

 

Use our URL below to update your account to avoid being suspended

 

Update Account Here

 

NOTE:This email will be closed if ignored.

 

Regards,
Supported by -

Screenshot of the phishing site promoted by these scam emails:

Stopped processing incoming emails Scam promoted phishing website

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner 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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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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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.

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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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