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.
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.
|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||22.214.171.124|
|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 Malwarebytes.
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?
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 Malwarebytes 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
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):
Another example of Covid-19 vaccination-themed spam email:
Text presented within:
Subject: NHS COVID-19 Vaccination appointment 08:33:58-01/27/21 #21444356857612
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. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is COVID-19 vaccination NHS email scam?
- STEP 1. Manual removal of possible malware infections.
- STEP 2. Check if your computer is clean.
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:
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:
Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:
Restart 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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.
In 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.
Check 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".
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.
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.