FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Ignore the COVID-19 vaccination NHS email scam

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

COVID-19 vaccination NHS email scam removal guide

What is COVID-19 vaccination NHS email scam?

Nowadays it is common for COVID-19 to be used as a subject in various scams, including email phishing scams. Typically, cybercriminals behind them attempt to trick recipients into providing some sensitive information. For example, social security numbers, credit card details, bank account numbers, login credentials. Although, they can use such emails to trick recipients into opening malicious files and infecting their computers with malware as well.

COVID-19 vaccination NHS phishing email

This particular email claims to be from the NHS (National Health Service), a healthcare system in England. It says that a recipient has been selected to receive a Coronavirus vaccine and asks whether he/she wants to accept or decline the invitation to schedule his/her COVID-19 vaccination. The email contains two links (to accept and decline invitation), both of them are designed to open a fake NHS website asking to provide information such as name, mother's maiden name, address, mobile number, credit card details, and banking information. Recipients who would provide this information on the fake NHS website should assume that those details will be misused for identity theft, fraudulent purchases, transactions, and/or other malicious purposes. It is important to mention that the only real NHS website address is nhs[.]uk, and not some other address like nhs.gov[.]uk or nhs.org[.]uk. Here is an article (on the official NHS page) on how to spot a scam.

Threat Summary:
Name COVID-19 Vaccination NHS Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Disguise Invitation from NHS to receive Coronavirus vaccine
Related Domain/Fake NHS Webste dpcpack[.]com
Serving IP Address 169.57.178.167
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.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available.

A couple of examples of other email scams are "Ruralvía Seguridad Email Scam", "Stopped Processing Incoming Emails Scam", and "Amazon Customer Care Email Scam". As mentioned in the introduction, emails can be used to deliver malware. Usually, malspam contains some malicious attachment or website link. Its main purpose is to trick a recipient into opening a malicious file.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Malspam emails can contain malicious PDF documents, archive files like ZIP, RAR, JavaScript files, Microsoft Office documents, or files of some other type (or download links for malicious files). It is worthwhile to mention that when malicious documents are opened with Microsoft Office 2010 or newer, they do not install malware unless users enable malicious macros (editing/content). Although, older MS Office versions do not include the "Protected View" mode and infect computers as soon as they are opened.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Links and/or attachments in emails that are not relevant, received from suspicious, unknown addresses should not be opened. Emails of this type usually are sent with the purpose to trick their recipients into infecting computers with some malware. Software and files should be downloaded only from official, reliable websites and via direct links. Unofficial pages, third-party downloaders (and installers), Peer-to-Peer networks (like eMule, torrent clients), etc., are not sources for downloading any software. Already installed software should never be updated or activated with unofficial tools. Also, it is not legal to use such tools for activation of licensed software. It has to be done using implemented functions (or tools) from official software developers. Additionally, a computer should be scanned for viruses and other threats regularly, it is advisable to use a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software for that. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the email:

Subject: IMPORTANT - Public Health Message| Decide whether if you want to be vaccinated - Message on 12-January-21 14:57:11 BST - Your NHS.CO.UK order #203-9320557-23482748 has been dispatched

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS

Dear,

The NHS is performing selections for coronavirus vaccination on the basis of family genetics and medical history.

You have been selected to receive a coronavirus vaccination.

NOTE: The coronavirus (COVID-19( vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

Use this service to confirm your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination.

You will need to:

* have 2 doses of the coronavirus vaccination at 2 appointments
* book both appointments at the same time
* get the 2nd dose 3 to 4 weeks after getting your 1st dose

Who can use this service

You can only use this service if you have received an e-mail/SMS regarding this invitation. You can not use this service for anyone other than yourself.

You are also free to reject this invitation, your appointment will be issued to the next person in line in that case.

Please confirm or reject your invitation by selecting an option below.

>> NHS - Accept invitation ↣

>> NHS - Reject invitation ↣

You are required to reply to this invitation within 12 hours of this notification.

Appearance of the COVID-19 Vaccination NHS email scam (GIF):

covid-19 vaccination nhs email scam appearance

Another example of Covid-19 vaccination-themed spam email:

Covid-19 vaccination-themed spam email (2021-01-27)

Text presented within:

Subject: NHS COVID-19 Vaccination appointment 08:33:58-01/27/21 #21444356857612

 

HI -

AS PART OF THE GOVERNMENT'S COORDINATED RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS, NHS IS PERFORMING SELECTIONS FOR CORONAVIRUS VACCINATION ON THE BASIS OF FAMILY GENETICS AND MEDICAL HISTORY.

YOU HAV EBEEN SELECTED TO RECEIVE A CORONA VIRUS VACCINATION

USE THIS SERVICE TO CONFIRM/REJECT YOUR CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) VACCINATION:
NHS - ACCEPT INVITATION > >
NHS - DECLINE INVITATION > >


IT THEN GOES ON TO SAY:
YOU CAN ONLY USE THIS SERVICE IF I HAVE RECEIVED AN EMAIL/SMS REGARDING THIS INVITATION. YOU CAN NOT USE THIS SERVICE FOR ANYONE OTHER THAN YOURSELF. YOU ARE ALSO FREE TO REJECT THIS INVITATION, YOUR APPOINTMENT WILL BE ISSUED TO THE NEXT PERSON IN LINE IN THAT CASE.

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner 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 Combo Cleaner. 7 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 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.

Click to post a comment

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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
possible malware infections QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of possible malware infections on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Windows malware infections today:

▼ REMOVE IT NOW
Download Combo Cleaner

Platform: Windows

Editors' Rating for Combo Cleaner:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available.