What is "E-mail Blacklist scam"?
"E-mail Blacklist scam" refers to a spam campaign - a large-scale operation during which deceptive emails are sent by the thousand. The letters spread through this campaign - claim that recipients' email accounts have been blacklisted.
Allegedly, unless the accounts are updated - they will be permanently suspended. It must be emphasized that these emails are fake and all of the information provided by them is false. The "E-mail Blacklist" scam letters aim to promote a phishing website, which is designed to record email account log-in credentials (i.e., email addresses and passwords) provided to it.
Therefore, by trying to sign in via this site, users can have their email accounts stolen by the scammers behind this spam campaign.
The "E-mail Blacklist" scam emails (subject/title "Dear user, spam activities detected in your account!!!"; may vary) claim that activity related to spam has been detected on recipients' email accounts. Due to this, the accounts in question have been blacklisted. If recipients do not confirm and update their emails within 24 hours - the accounts will be permanently blocked.
When the "Confirm your [recipient's email address]" button is clicked, it redirects to the promoted phishing webpage. It requests users to sign in with their email accounts to continue.
As mentioned in the introduction, the purpose of this fake site is to gather log-in credentials entered into it, thereby allowing the scammers behind it to gain access/control over the exposed email accounts. Scammers target email accounts as they are typically associated with other content.
For example, various accounts, platforms, and services are commonly registered through emails. Hence, via stolen emails, access may be gained to the accounts connected to them.
Scammers can use communication platforms (e.g., emails, social networking, social media, messengers, etc.) to ask the contacts, friends, or followers for loans - under the guise of the account's real owner. These platforms can also be employed to proliferate malware by sharing infectious files or links to malicious websites.
Finance-related accounts (e.g., banking, online money transferring, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases. Should compromising or particularly sensitive material be detected on victims' accounts (e.g., data storage, file transferring, etc.) - it can be held for ransom under the threat of publication.
To summarize, by trusting the "E-mail Blacklist" scam letters, users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. If attempts to sign in through the phishing site have already been made, it is strongly advised to immediately change the log-in credentials of all potentially compromised accounts.
Additionally, it is recommended to contact the official support of the endangered platforms.
|Name||E-mail Blacklist Scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Recipients' email accounts have been blacklisted due to spam activity, and unless they are updated - the accounts will be permanently suspended.|
|Detection Names (societyrevolution[.]ro)||CRDF (Malicious), Fortinet (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (societyrevolution[.]ro)||22.214.171.124|
|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 Combo Cleaner.
"Nextiva email scam", "Account Missing Or Incomplete", and "New app(s) have access to your Microsoft Account" are a couple examples of phishing spam campaigns. The emails sent through these operations are usually presented as "official", "urgent", "important", or designed to otherwise affect recipients' emotions (e.g., fear, excitement, curiosity, bafflement, etc.).
However, deceptive letters are not used just for phishing and similar scams; they are also employed to distribute trojans, ransomware, and other malware. Due to how widespread spam mail is, it is highly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Systems are infected via malicious files proliferated through spam campaigns. These files can be attached to the scam emails, and/or the letters can contain their download links.
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 prior to 2010.
Later versions have "Protected View" mode, which prevents automatic execution of macros. Instead, users can manually enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content).
How to avoid installation of malware?
To avoid infecting the device via spam mail, it is advised against opening dubious and irrelevant emails - especially any attachments or links present in them. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.
Aside from spam campaigns, malicious software is also spread through untrustworthy download sources (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updates. Therefore, it is crucial to download only from official and verified channels. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers.
It is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. This software has to be used to run regular system scans and remove detected threats and issues. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the "E-mail Blacklist" scam email letter:
Subject: Dear user, spam activities detected in your account!!!
Dear User ,
Our records indicate that your E-mail account has been detected in spam activities, it has been included in the black list. Failure to confirm and update your account within 24 hours will result in a permanent suspension .
Confirm your account below.
Confirm your *********
Â© 2021 Mail Service
Screenshot of the phishing website promoted through the "E-mail Blacklist" spam campaign:
Another example of email blackmail-themed spam:
Text presented within:
Subject: - ACCOUNT SERVICE NOTICE
MAIL ACCOUNT SERVICE NOTICE
User ID: -
Message time : 10/28/2021 5:17:08 a.m.
A problem has arisen with your email account. The number of outbound emails generated from your account violates the Services Agreement and/or Acceptable Use Policy. This could be due to inadvertent activity on your part, or your account may have been compromised and is being used to generate spam.
In order to shield your email address from being blacklisted, ensure your account is not further compromised, and protect your email account server systems, we have suspended all outgoing mail from your account. To remove the suspension tag on your account, please Click Here and re-login and we will help you take the necessary precautionary and corrective actions automatically. You will be asked to validate you are the owner of the account by login in with your email address and correct password.
Please know that your account's security remains our primary concern, and we apologize for any inconvenience the suspension of service may have caused. .
Another example of email blacklist-themed spam promoting a phishing site:
Text presented within:
Subject: [Spam Activity]: ******** is delaying incoming messages
We detected spam activity in your account, email has been blacklisted.
Below, confirm your account.
Confirm your email
©2022 Mail Service
Screenshot of the promoted phishing site designed to imitate the appearance of user's email provider:
Another example of email blacklist-themed spam promoting an identical phishing site:
Text presented within:
Subject: [Action Required]: - delaying incoming & outgoing messages!
We detected spam activity from your account, email has been blacklisted.
Mails from your email is failing to deliver as your mails are marked as spam.
To be whielisted again confirm your email..
©2022 Mail Service
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- What is E-mail Blacklist spam?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious 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.
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.
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:
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.