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Avoid losing your email account via "GoDaddy" phishing emails

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

"GoDaddy email scam" removal guide

What is the fake "GoDaddy" email?

"GoDaddy email scam" refers to a spam campaign - a mass-scale operation during which deceptive emails are sent by the thousand. The emails distributed through this campaign - are presented as notifications from GoDaddy - publicly traded Internet domain registrar and web hosting company. These scam letters inform of an upcoming upgrade to the recipients' emails and request to verify their email accounts. This mail promotes a phishing website designed to record entered account log-in credentials (i.e., passwords). It must be emphasized that all of the information provided by these emails is false, and they are in no way associated with the genuine GoDaddy, Inc.

GoDaddy email spam campaign

The fake "GoDaddy" emails (subject/title "Attention Dear User"; may vary) claim that recipients' mail accounts will be upgraded from "Workspace" to "Microsoft 365 Email". To initiate the upgrade and gain access to new improved features, recipients are asked to validate their email accounts. The scam letters warn that should they be ignored - it will result in the accounts being closed/blocked. When "UPGRADE STORAGE" is clicked, recipients are redirected to a phishing site. The website is disguised as a sign-in page. Hence, email addresses and passwords entered into this site - are recorded and sent to the scammers, thereby allowing them to steal the corresponding mail accounts.

Email accounts are especially targeted by scammers, due to typically being connected with other platforms and services. Therefore, by hijacking mails - access/control may be gained over accounts associated with them. To elaborate on how this can be used, then via communication platforms (e.g., emails, social networking/media, messengers, etc.), scammers can pretend to be the genuine owner and ask the contacts/friends/followers for loans. Alternatively, such accounts can be used to spread malware - by sharing infectious files and/or links. Finance-related accounts (e.g., banking, online money transferring, digital wallet, e-commerce, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases. To summarize, by trusting the "GoDaddy" scam emails, users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. If attempts to sign-in via the phishing website have already been made, it is strongly advised to change the log-in credentials of potentially compromised accounts. Furthermore, it is recommended to contact the official supports of the endangered platforms.

Threat Summary:
Name GoDaddy Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim recipients need to validate their email accounts - to upgrade them.
Disguise Scam emails are disguised as mail from GoDaddy
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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Phishing scams target not only account log-in credentials but other sensitive/personal as well. "Facebook Lottery", "Banca Popolare di Bari email scam", "BAPATOH OFFSHORE SDN BHD", "PASSWORD EXPIRATION NOTICE", and "Spotify email scam" are some examples of phishing spam campaigns. The deceptive letters are often disguised as "official", "urgent", "important", and similar; they may even be presented as messages from legitimate organizations, institutions, companies, service providers, and other entities. Aside from various scams, these campaigns are also used to proliferate malware (e.g., ransomware, trojans, etc.). Due to how widespread spam mail is, it is highly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns spread malware via infectious files distributed through them. These files can be attached to the emails, and/or the letters can contain download links of such files. Virulent files can be in various formats, e.g., PDF and Microsoft Office documents, archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so on. When the files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection process (download/installation of malicious programs) is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. Macros are executed the moment a document is opened - in Microsoft Office versions released prior to 2010. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode, which prevents automatic execution of macro commands. Instead, users are asked to enable editing/content (i.e., macros) and warned of the possible risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and/or irrelevant emails must not be opened, especially any attachments or links present in them. Additionally, it is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Malware is also commonly distributed through untrustworthy download channels (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders), illegal activation tools ("cracks"), and fake updates. Therefore, it is advised to only use official and verified download sources. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. It is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and updated. This software has to be used to perform regular system scans and remove detected/potential threats. 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 fake "GoDaddy" email letter:

Subject: Attention Dear User

 

GoDaddy

 

24/7 Support: (480) 505-8821

 

Dear User,

 

WE're dedicated to securing your account and serving you better, Your email will be upgraded from Workspace to Microsoft 365 Email.

 

Until then, we highly recommend all our active customers to validate their email to enable us serve you better with our new improved features.
 
Ignoring this will lead to immediate closure and loss of your email.

 

See the below for your Email upgrade


UPGRADE STORAGE

 

Blake Irving
CEO, GoDaddy

 

Copyright © 1999-2021 GoDaddy Operating Company, LLC. 14455 N. Hayden Rd, Ste. 219, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, USA. All Rights Reserved.

Appearance of the "GoDaddy" scam email (GIF):

GoDaddy scam email appearance (GIF)

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "GoDaddy" spam campaign:

GoDaddy email scam promoted phishing website

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:
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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 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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