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Avoid having your email account stolen via fake "Kaspersky" emails

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

"Kaspersky email scam" removal guide

What is the fake "Kaspersky" email?

"Kaspersky email scam" refers to a spam campaign - a large-scale operation during which deceptive emails are sent by the thousand. The letters distributed through this campaign - are presented as messages from Kaspersky Lab, the global cybersecurity service and anti-virus software provider. It must be emphasized that these fake emails are in no way associated with the genuine Kaspersky Lab, despite any proclamations stating otherwise. The scam letters claim that malicious files have been detected in recipients' mailboxes. This spam campaign aims to promote a phishing website, which requests users to verify their emails by logging into the accounts. Phishing pages are designed to record the information entered into them; in this case - mail account log-in credentials (i.e., email addresses and passwords). Therefore, it is strongly advised against trusting these fraudulent "Kaspersky" emails - as that can result in email account loss and other serious problems.

Kaspersky email spam campaign

The "Kaspersky" scam emails (subject/title "Attention Urgent Scanning Needed !"; may vary) state that malignant files have been found in recipients' email inboxes during a daily automatic scan. The fake letters advise performing a full scan to prevent damage to stored files and the system itself. The "SCAN NOW" button in these emails redirects to a phishing website. This site displays a pop-up window that asks users to verify their email accounts by signing into them. Passwords entered into this webpage/pop-up will be inadvertently exposed to the individuals/groups behind the "Kaspersky email scam". Hence, by trying to log in through this site, users can have their mail accounts stolen by the scammers.

Emails are particularly targeted by scammers and cyber criminals - as they are typically connected to other accounts and services. Therefore, via a hijacked mail account, access may be gained to platforms associated with it (e.g., registered through the email). To elaborate on how this can be abused, then communication accounts (e.g., emails, social media/networking, messengers, etc.) can be used to send spam and/or proliferate malware. Scammers can also use these platforms to ask the genuine owners' friends/contacts/followers for loans. 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 fake "Kaspersky" emails - users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. If attempts to log in through the phishing website have already been made - it is highly recommended to immediately change the passwords of potentially compromised accounts. Additionally, it is advised to contact the endangered platforms' official support.

Threat Summary:
Name Kaspersky Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Emails claim malicious files were detected in recipients' inboxes.
Disguise Scam emails are disguised as messages from Kaspersky Lab.
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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"Upgrade Account", "Banca Sella email scam", and "Facebook Lottery" are a few examples of phishing spam campaigns. The letters sent through these massive operations are usually disguised as "official", "important", "urgent", and similar. Emails of this type are not used exclusively for phishing; they are also employed to facilitate other scams and spread malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.). Due to how widespread spam mail is, it is important to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Systems are infected via malicious files distributed through spam campaigns. The files can be attached to the scam emails, and/or the letters can contain download links of infectious content. Virulent files can be in various formats, e.g., Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and many others. When these files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection chain (i.e., malware download/installation) is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. This process begins the moment a document is opened - in Microsoft Office versions released before 2010. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros. Instead, users are asked to enable editing/content (i.e., macro commands) and warned of the potential risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and irrelevant emails must not opened, especially any attachments or links present in them. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Aside from spam campaigns, malware is also proliferated via 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 updaters. Therefore, it is important to only perform downloads from official and verified sources. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. Furthermore, it is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and updated. This software is to be used to run regular system scans and remove detected/potential threats and issues. 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 "Kaspersky" scam email letter:

Subject: Attention Urgent Scanning Needed !

 

Security Alert !!!

 

Dear ********

 

Our automatic daily scan, detected some malicious files in your mailbox.

You are adviced to run a full scan now to prevent damage to your files and system.

 

SCAN NOW

 

Kaspersky is an independent software technical support service provider for a large scale variety of third party products and brands and services. Any use of Trademarks, Brands, Products and Services is referential and kaspersky has no affiliation with any of these third-party companies unless such relationship is expressly specified. The services we may also be available on Owners website's

 

© 2021 AD Kaspersky Lab. All right reserved.

Appearance of the phishing website promoted through the "Kaspersky" spam campaign (GIF):

Kaspersky email scam promoted phishing website (GIF)

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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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.

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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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