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How to avoid having your email account stolen via fake "Kaspersky" emails

Also Known As: Kaspersky spam
Damage level: Medium

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 messages distributed through this campaign are presented as messages from Kaspersky Lab, the global cyber security service and anti-virus software provider.

Note that these fake emails are in no way associated with the genuine Kaspersky Lab, despite any proclamations stating otherwise. The scam messages claim that malicious files have been detected in recipients' mailboxes.

This spam campaign aims to promote a phishing website, which asks 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, never trust these fraudulent "Kaspersky" emails, as doing so can result in email account loss and other serious problems.

Kaspersky email spam campaign

More about this fake email

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 messages advise performing a full scan to prevent damage to stored files and the system itself.

The "SCAN NOW" button within 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 web page/pop-ups will be inadvertently exposed to the individuals/groups behind the "Kaspersky email scam".

I.e., by trying to log in through this site, users might have their email 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 email account, access may be gained to platforms associated with it (e.g., registered through the email).

To elaborate on how this can be abused, 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 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, immediately change the passwords of potentially compromised accounts. Additionally, 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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Examples of similar scams

"Upgrade Account", "Banca Sella email scam", and "Facebook Lottery" are some examples of other phishing spam campaigns. The messages sent through these large-scale 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 the widespread nature of spam mail, exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Typically, ransomware and other malware is distributed through malspam campaigns, fake software updating tools, untrusted download sources, unofficial (third party) software activation tools and Trojans. Users infect computers with malware when they open malicious files that they receive via email.

These emails often contain malicious attachments or websites designed to download dangerous files. In most cases, cyber criminals send emails that have Microsoft Office documents, archive files (ZIP, RAR), PDF documents, JavaScript files, and executable files such as .exe attached to them. Fake software updating tools do not update or fix any installed software - they simply install malware instead.

They can also infect systems by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software. Examples of dubious file/software download channels are Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, various free file hosting sites and freeware download websites.

Users infect computers through these channels when they download and execute malicious files, which are often disguised as legitimate and regular. Software 'cracking' tools supposedly activate licensed software free of charge (illegally), however, rather than activating anything, they often install malicious programs.

Trojans are rogue programs that, if installed, install other malware (causing chain infections).

How to avoid installation of malware

Do not trust irrelevant emails that have files attached (or contain website links) and are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Software should not be downloaded or installed through third party downloaders, installers, unofficial pages or other similar sources/tools.

Use only official websites and direct links. Installed software should never be updated or activated with third party, unofficial tools, since they can install malware. Furthermore, it is illegal to use third party tools to activate licensed software.

The only legitimate way to update and activate software is to use tools and functions that are provided by the official developers. Regularly scan your computer with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and keep this software up to date.

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 "Kaspersky" scam email message:

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)

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Quick menu:

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did I receive this email?

This email was sent to all addresses that scammers obtained after some data breach or gathered in other ways. It was sent even to people who do not use the Kaspersky antivirus.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by this email, what should I do?

If you have provided your password after clicking the button provided in this email, change all passwords immediately. Especially if the password you provided (and email address) can be used to access not just one account.

I have downloaded and opened a malicious file attached to an email, is my computer infected?

Malicious MS Office documents do not infect computers until users enable macros commands. Archive files do not infect computers unless users extract their contents and open them. Other files used to distribute may require additional user interference too. However, executable files (like .exe, .bat and .com) infect computers right after they are executed.

I have read the email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

It is safe to open emails without opening links and attachments in them. Thus, your computer is not infected.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?

Yes, Combo Cleaner will remove malware. It can detect almost all known malware. It is noteworthy that high-end malware can hide deep in the system. For this reason, running a full system scan is a must.

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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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