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Do not trust the Standard Bank Financial Consultancy (SBFC) email scam

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

Standard Bank Financial Consultancy (SBFC) email scam removal guide

What is Standard Bank Financial Consultancy (SBFC) email scam?

In most cases, phishing emails are designed to look like official, important or urgent letters from legitimate companies, organizations. Scammers send such emails to trick recipients into providing personal, sensitive information. It is common that they try to obtain information such as credit card details (e.g., cardholder name, CVV code, credit card number), login credentials (e.g., usernames, email addresses, passwords), or other details. This phishing email is disguised as a notification from the Standard Bank Financial Consultancy, an Africa-oriented financial services organization.

Standard Bank Financial Consultancy (SBFC) email scam email spam campaign

Scammers attempt to trick recipients into clicking the provided link that is supposed to open a website where recipients will be able to view and update life assurance contract details. The email also contains a disclaimer and confidentiality note copied from other websites. The main purpose of this scam is to trick recipients into opening a deceptive website and providing their login credentials (email address and a password) for Standard Bank's online banking account. Typically, scammers use stolen banking accounts to make fraudulent transactions, purchases, or they sell them to third parties (other cybercriminals) on the darkweb/hacker forums. It is important to mention that stolen login credentials may be used to steal other accounts, it applies to accounts with the same login credentials. Depending on the types of stolen accounts, they could be used to spread spam, deliver malware, extract personal information, money, blackmail other people, or for other malicious purposes. Phishing emails have to be ignored. Recipients who fall for them lose access to personal accounts, suffer monetary loss, encounter problems related to online privacy and other issues.

Threat Summary:
Name Standard Bank Financial Consultancy (SBFC) Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipients can view and update their life assurance contract details
Disguise Notification from Standard Bank
Related Domain abscommunication[.]in
Detection Names Fortinet (Phishing), Webroot (Malicious), Full Detections List (VirusTotal)
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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More examples of phishing emails that scammers have used (and could be still using) to obtain sensitive information from unsuspecting users are "System Administrator Quota Update Email Scam", "Verify Your Email Account Scam", and "Posteitaliane Email Scam". In most cases, scammers try to trick recipients into providing login credentials for social media, email, banking or other accounts, or credit card details. It is important to know that email can be used as a channel to deliver malware as well, for example, ransomware, trojan, or other unwanted software like cryptocurrency miner.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Usually, emails that cybercriminals send with the purpose to trick recipients into infecting their computers with malware have a malicious file attached to them or include a link designed to open a download page for a malicious file. Recipients install malware by opening downloaded malicious attachments or files. Typically, cybercriminals use Microsoft Office, PDF documents, JavaScript files, executable files like EXE, archive files like RAR ZIP in their malspam campaigns. It is noteworthy that malicious documents do not infect computers unless users enable content or editing (macros commands) in them. Although, only when those documents are opened with MS Office 2010 and newer versions. Any other MS Office version does not have the "Protected View" mode. This mode does not allow malicious documents to install malware as long as macros commands are not enabled by users manually.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Files attached or website links included in irrelevant emails sent from some trustworthy, known address should not be opened. It is very common that cybercriminals use email as a channel to deliver malware. Files and programs should be downloaded from official websites and via direct download links only. Downloads from unofficial websites, third-party downloaders , Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., eMule, torrent clients), etc., can be malicious. The same applies to third-party installers. Installed programs (and the operating system) have to be activated and updated properly. It has do be achieved using tools or implemented functions provided by their official developers. Typically, unofficial, third-party tools do not activate or update any software - they are bundled with malware. Another reason not to use tools of this type to activate licensed software is that it is against the law. It is not legal to use pirated software as well. The operating systems should be scanned for unwanted, malicious entries, programs regularly. It should be done using an up-to-date and reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Appearance of the Standard Bank Financial Consultancy (SBFC) email scam:

standard bank financial consultancy sbfc email scam appearance

Text in the email:

Subject: Standard Bank Financial Consultancy (SBFC) Notification

Standard Bank Financial Consultancy

Dear Customer

Please Click Here to view an update on an investment or life assurance product where Standard Bank Financial Consultancy (SBFC) is the advisory on record.


Note: Registered phone number or Email address we have on our record must be verified by One-Time-PIN to validate your details.

Regards

Standard Bank Financial Consultancy (SBFC) (FSP 3825)
Standard Bank Financial Consultancy (SBFC) is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP 3825) and a business unit of The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited.

The Standard Bank email disclaimer and confidentiality note:

This email, its attachments and any rights attaching hereto are, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the property of the
Standard Bank Group Limited and/or its subsidiaries ("the group"). It is confidential, private and intended for the addressee only.

Should you not be the addressee and receive this email by mistake, kindly notify the sender, and delete it immediately. Do not
disclose or use the email in any manner whatsoever.

Views and opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender unless clearly stated as those of the group.

The group accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss or damages - whatsoever and howsoever incurred - or suffered resulting or
arising from the use of this email or its attachments. The group does not warrant the integrity of this email nor that it is free of
errors, viruses, interception or interference.

The group will never send you any email or other communication asking you to update or provide confidential information about you or your account. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of this email or other emails you receive claiming to be from Standard Bank please forward them to phishing@standardbank.co.za

For more information about Standard Bank Group Limited see www.standardbank[.]com

Should you wish to unsubscribe, please send an email to: Unsubscribe@standardbank.co.za

Moving Forward is a trademark of The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited.

Screenshot of the fake Standard Bank login page:

standard bank financial consultancy sbfc email scam phishing website

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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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