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Do not trust the "Anti-spam policy violation" scam emails

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium

What is "Anti-spam policy violation Email Scam"?

"Anti-spam policy violation Email Scam" is the name of a spam campaign - a large-scale operation during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. These letters aim to promote a phishing website, which targets recipients' email accounts.

The scam emails make fake claims that the recipients' email accounts have been detected being in use for spam distribution. The letters try to trick recipients to log into their email accounts through a phishing site that is designed to record information (i.e., passwords) entered into it.

Anti-spam policy violation email spam campaign

"Anti-spam policy violation" email in detail

The "Anti-spam policy violation" scam letters (subject/title "Notice From [********] 7th July 2021 Anti-Spam"; may vary) inform recipients that their email accounts were detected being used from spam activities. Hence, the mail accounts were supposedly blocked.

The deceptive emails warn that unless recipients confirm and update their accounts within 48 hours - they will be permanently suspended. When recipients click "Please review and confirm your account below." or "Check / Confirm your email address" - they are redirected to the phishing website.

Log-in credentials (i.e., email addresses and corresponding passwords) entered into the promoted page - are exposed to the scammers. Therefore, by trying to sign in through this site - users can have their email accounts stolen, and possibly experience other issues as well.

Scammers are especially interested in email accounts as they are typically associated with (e.g., used to register) other platforms, services, and different content. Hence, via hijacked emails - access might be gained to accounts connected to them. This unauthorized access can be misused variously.

For example, stolen communication platforms (e.g., emails, social networking/media, messengers, etc.) can be used to ask for loans - under the guise of the genuine owner. Alternatively, they can be used to spread malware by sharing malicious files or links. Finance-related accounts (e.g., banking, online money transferring, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used by scammers to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.

To summarize, by trusting the "Anti-spam policy violation" scam emails, users can experience serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If attempts to sign in through the phishing site have already been made, the log-in credentials of the potentially compromised accounts must be changed without delay. Additionally, it is recommended to contact the official support of the exposed platforms.

Threat Summary:
Name Anti-spam policy violation Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Emails claim recipients' email accounts were being used to distribute spam mail.
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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Spam campaigns in general

"Novo Banco email scam", "UN Covid-19 stimulus package", "CMA CGM email scam", "Process the order attached" are some examples of phishing spam campaigns. The letters sent through these operations are usually presented as "official", "important", "urgent", and similar.

Aside from phishing and other scams, deceptive emails are also used to proliferate trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, and other malware. Due to how prevalent spam mail is, it is strongly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Systems are infected via virulent files distributed through spam campaigns. These letters can contain download links of malicious files, and/or they can be attached to the emails. Infectious files can be in various formats, e.g., archives , executables, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc.

When the files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection process (i.e., malware download/installation) is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands.

This process starts 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 can manually enable editing/content (i.e., macro commands).

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infecting the system via spam mail, it is strongly advised against opening suspicious and irrelevant emails - especially any attachments or links present in them. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.

Malware is also spread through 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 updates. Therefore, it is recommended to download only from official and verified sources. Additionally, software has to be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers.

To protect device/user safety, it is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. Furthermore, this software has to be used to remove detected threats. 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 "Anti-spam policy violation" scam email letter:

Subject: Notice From ******** 7th July 2021 Anti-Spam

 

Anti-spam policy violation

 

Dear ********

 

Our current record indicates that your email account ******** was detected from spam activities and has been blacklisted as a result.
You are required to confirm and update your account within 48 hours if you wish to continue using
this email account and failure to do so will lead to permanent suspension of your account..

 

Please review and confirm your account below.
    
Check / Confirm your email address

 

Message Encryption: AES64bit


© 2021 [E-mail Address] Email support. .

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted through the "Anti-spam policy violation" spam campaign:

Anti-spam policy violation email scam promoted phishing site

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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