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Do not trust fake "Banca Popolare di Bari" emails

Also Known As: Banca Popolare Di Bari spam
Damage level: Medium

What is the fake "Banca Popolare di Bari" email?

"Banca Popolare di Bari email scam" is the name of a spam campaign, a mass-scale operation during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. The emails distributed through this campaign are disguised as messages from Banca Popolare di Bari, a genuine Italian bank based in the Bari, Apulia region.

These fake emails claim that recipients must update their Banca Popolare di Bari accounts for security reasons. In fact, this spam campaign aims to promote a phishing website, which is presented as the Banca Popolare di Bari sign-in page.

Log-in credentials (i.e., usernames and passwords) entered into this site are exposed to the scammers, thereby allowing them access and control over the online bank accounts.

Banca Popolare di Bari email spam campaign

According to a rough translation, the "Banca Popolare di Bari" scam emails (subject/title "Aggiornamento obbligatorio per il tuo conto bancario" may vary) inform recipients that they must update their accounts.

The Banca Popolare di Bari accounts supposedly must be updated to improve their security and prevent unauthorized transactions. The messages claim that this update is mandatory and lists the date by which it must be completed.

To make the bogus updates, recipients are instructed to press the "Clicca qui" button in the emails and follow the instructions provided in the opened website. As mentioned, the information provided by these messages is false, and they are in no way associated with the actual Banca Popolare di Bari.

By clicking the button, recipients are redirected to a phishing site. Log-in credentials (i.e., usernames and passwords) typed into this fake log-in page are delivered to the scammers. Therefore, they can gain access to the corresponding banking accounts and make fraudulent transactions.

In summary, by trusting the "Banca Popolare di Bari" scam emails, recipients might have their bank accounts stolen, experience financial losses and severe privacy issues.

If attempts to sign-in through the phishing website have already been made, change the log-in credentials immediately and contact the official Banca Popolare di Bari support.

Threat Summary:
Name Banca Popolare di Bari Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim recipients need to update their Banca Popolare di Bari accounts.
Disguise Messages from Banca Popolare di Bari
Related Domains pcontrol[.]it
Serving IP Address (pcontrol[.]it) 100.24.208.97
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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"BAPATOH OFFSHORE SDN BHD", "Proof Of Payment", "Password is about to expire today", "Facebook email scam", and "MOBI GRAND TELECOM Lottery" are some examples of other phishing spam campaigns. The emails are usually presented as "official", "urgent", "important", and similar.

These messages are used not only for phishing and other scams, but also to proliferate malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.). Regardless of what scam emails claim, offer, request, or demands, the goal is the same: to generate profit for the scammers/cyber criminals behind them.

Due to the widespread nature of spam mail, exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Malware (including ransomware) is usually distributed via malspam campaigns, unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools, Trojans, dubious file/software download sources, and fake software updating tools.

When cyber criminals attempt to distribute malware via malspam campaigns, they send emails that contain malicious attachments or download links for malicious files. Typically, they disguise their emails as official and important. If recipients open the attached file (or a file downloaded via a website link), they cause installation of malicious software.

Cyber criminals commonly attach executable files (.exe), archive files such as RAR, ZIP, PDF documents, JavaScript files and Microsoft Office documents to their emails. Software 'cracking' tools supposedly activate licensed software illegally (bypass activation), however, they often install malicious programs and do not activate any legitimate installed software.

Trojans are other rogue programs that can cause chain infections. I.e., when a Trojan is installed on the operating system, it can install additional malware.

Free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, and third party downloaders are examples of other sources that are used to distribute malware. Cyber criminals disguise malicious files as legitimate and regular. When users download and open them, they inadvertently infect their computers with malware.

Fake software updating tools install malicious software rather than updates/fixes for installed programs, or they exploit bugs/flaws of outdated software that is installed on the operating system.

How to avoid installation of malware

To avoid malware spread via spam mail, you are strongly advised against opening suspicious or irrelevant emails, especially those with any attachments or links present within them.

Additionally, use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Malicious programs also proliferate through untrusted download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal software activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updaters.

Therefore, only download from official/verified sources and activate and update software with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers.

To ensure device integrity and user privacy, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. Furthermore, use these programs to run regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats.

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 "Banca Popolare di Bari" scam email message:

Subject: Aggiornamento obbligatorio per il tuo conto bancario

 

Gentile cliente,

 

Per garantirti un livello di sicurezza ottimale su operazioni bancarie sensibili e inevitabili, e

 

per evitare tutti i rischi e le operazioni fraudolente. Il gruppo Banca Popolare di Bari

 

effettua un aggiornamento obbligatorio dal 18/03/2021

 

Per aggiornarlo è sufficiente collegarsi al nostro sito e seguire i passaggi richiesti dal link

 

sottostante:

 

Clicca qui

 

© Banca Popolare di Bari SPA - Sede sociale e Direzione Generale Corso Cavour .

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted through the "Banca Popolare di Bari" spam campaign:

Banca Popolare di Bari email scam promoted phishing website

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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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