Do not trust the Inode Quota Exceeded email scam

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

Inode Quota Exceeded email scam removal guide

What is node Quota Exceeded email scam?

It is common that cybercriminals use email as a tool to trick recipients into providing personal information (like credit card details, name, surname, bank account number), installing malware on the operating system (e.g., ransomware, Trojan), transferring money. As a rule, they send emails purporting to be from a legitimate company, organization, or other entity. This particular email is disguised as a final notice letter from cPanel (web hosting control panel software developer) stating that a certain domain has reached its inode quota (a website has reached maximum allowed resources).

Inode Quota Exceeded email scam email spam campaign

Inodes contain information about the files, emails, directories, etc., stored on the server. Usually, the number of inodes is limited, and once its limit is reached, users cannot create or upload new files, receive emails, and their cPanel starts showing notifications informing that no temporary files can be stored on the account anymore. Scammers behind this email claim that a specific domain has reached its inode quota, their main goal is to trick recipients into opening the attached HTML file and entering information such as domain name, panel username, and password. They attempt to trick recipients into believing that by entering the required details, they will log into cPanel and automatically add more inodes to their hosting account. The attached HTML file sends entered information to a server controlled by cybercriminals behind this scam. Stolen information can be used to access hosting account and take control over the domain, download and modify files and use those modified files for a variety of illegal activities. Depending on the hijacked website, cybercriminals may have access to personally identifiable information, credit card data, and much more. It is important to mention that stolen login credentials for hosting platforms such as cPanel could be sold on the dark web as well.

Threat Summary:
Name Inode Quota Exceeded email scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim A website has exceeded its inode limit
Disguise A final notice letter from cPanel
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.
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In conclusion, scammers behind this email attempt to trick recipients into believing that they have received a final notice letter from cPanel regarding the exceeded limit of inodes and sending their cPanel login credentials via an attached HTML file. More examples of similar email scams used to extract login credentials are "GoDaddy Email Scam", "Banca Sella Email Scam", and "PASSWORD EXPIRATION NOTICE Email Scam". As mentioned in the first paragraph, email can be used as a channel to deliver malware. A couple of examples of malware variants that cybercriminals have distributed via email are LokiBot, Qakbot, Agent Tesla, and GuLoader.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

When cybercriminals use email as a channel to deliver malware, they send attempt to trick recipients into opening a malicious email attachment or a file downloaded via a website link. Usually, they send emails pretending to be official, important letters from legitimate companies. Recipients infect their computers when they open a malicious Microsoft Office, PDF document, archive file (ZIP, RAR, or another), JavaScript file, executable file (like .exe). It is important to mention that documents opened with Microsoft Office 2010 or any other newer version infect computers only if users enable editing or content (macros commands). It is because the aforementioned versions have the "Protected View" mode, which prevents malicious documents from installing malware. However, older MS Office versions do not have this feature. Therefore, malicious documents opened with older versions install malware automatically.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Received irrelevant emails containing attachments or website links should be analyzed, especially when such emails are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Quite often, emails from unknown senders that contain files or links are used to deliver malware. Software should not be downloaded or installed through third-party downloaders or installers. It is also not safe to use unofficial pages, Peer-to-Peer networks. free file hosting sites, and other sources of this kind for downloading files, programs. Files, programs should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. Installed software has to be updated using tools, functions that the official developers provide. The same applies to software registration or activation. It is important to know that it is illegal to bypass activation of licensed using various unofficial, third-party tools. Also, both unofficial activation or updating tools tend to be malicious. One more way to keep computers safe is to scan them with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software regularly, and always keep that software up to date. 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 Inode Quota Exceeded email:

Subject: Inode quota exceeded : "********"

Inode quota notification for : "********".

Inode Quota Exceeded!!
Final Notice for Domain : ********
The Domain "********"  has reached its inode quota.
Exceeding your inode quota can affect your website, uploads and email.
To avoid service interruption we recommend that you find the attachment file that is attached to this email to
automatically add more inodes to your hosting package now
Copyright© 2021 cPanel, Inc.

Screenshot of the HTML file ("cpanel -Add more inodes.html") attached to this email:

inode quota exceeded email scam cpanel -Add more inodes.html file

Text in this page:

C-Panel Admin              

Please Log-in with your Domain name and panel username and password to automatically add more Inodes to your hosting portal.  

Domain Name

Panel Username

Panel Password

Manage Your C-panel

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Malwarebytes 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 Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

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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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