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Avoid getting scammed by the fake "Email cloud" notifications

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium

What is "Email Cloud scam"?

"Email Cloud scam" refers to a spam campaign - a mass-scale operation during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. The letters distributed through this campaign - make false claims that several confidential files have been sent to the recipients' cloud storage, and unless they are retrieved - they will be deleted.

It must be emphasized that all of the information provided by the "Email Cloud" letters - is false. The aim of this spam campaign is to trick users into entering their log-in credentials (i.e., usernames/passwords) into a phishing website. With this data in their possession, scammers can steal the corresponding accounts and potentially others as well.

Email Cloud spam campaign

"Email Cloud" scam email in detail

The fake "Email Cloud" letters (subject/title "******** Have New Urgent Notification From Email's Cloud!!"; may vary), inform recipients that five classified documents have arrived into their cloud storage. If these files are not retrieved, they will be deleted from the cloud storage account.

To prevent this from happening, recipients are instructed to "click here to retrieve Classified Information/document(s) now". This link redirects to the phishing site, which is designed to record data entered into it. Hence, by attempting to sign into their accounts, users will inadvertently expose their account to the scammers.

If attempts to sign in through the phishing website have already been made - the compromised account log-in credentials must be changed immediately. Additionally, it is recommended to contact the official support of the potentially exposed accounts and platforms.

Phishing scams in detail

Phishing scams target a wide variety of information. Log-in credential targeting schemes can lead to more issues than just the loss of a single account. One of the reasons why other content is endangered is due to the unadvisable user habit of reusing the same passwords for different platforms.

Another threat is exposed email accounts, which are often connected to (e.g., used to register) other accounts, platforms, services, and so on. Hence, through stolen emails - scammers may gain access/control over content associated with them.

To elaborate on how the unauthorized access can be abused, should highly confidential, sensitive, or compromising material be found on storage accounts - it can be held for ransom under threat of publication and/or sale to the victims' competitors.

Scammers can use communication platforms (e.g., emails, social networking, messengers, etc.) to proliferate malware or ask for loans from contacts - under the guise of the genuine owner. Finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.

To summarize, by trusting the "Email Cloud" scam letters, users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. Due to the prevalence of spam mail, it is highly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails and messages.

Threat Summary:
Name Email Cloud Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim that five classified documents were sent to the recipients' cloud storage; these files will be deleted unless they are retrieved.
Related Domains cloudmnd[.]com
Detection Names (cloudmnd[.]com) Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (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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Spam campaigns in general

"Voicemail email scam", "The BMW Lottery email scam", "Anti-spam policy violation email scam", "UN Covid-19 stimulus package email scam", "Process the order attached email scam", and "Verify Microsoft Account email scam" are some examples of phishing email spam campaigns.

Deceptive emails of this type target a broad range of information: log-in credentials, personally identifiable details (e.g., names, addresses, occupations, etc.), finance-related data (e.g., credit card numbers, etc.). Spam campaigns are also used to facilitate various scams and to spread malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.).

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns proliferate malware via infectious files distributed through them. These files can be attached to the scam emails, or the letters can contain download links of such content. Virulent files can be in various formats, e.g., archives, executables, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, and so on.

When the files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - malware download/installation is triggered. 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 Microsoft Office versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros. Instead, users can manually enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), and they are alerted of the potential risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infecting the system via spam mail, it is advised against opening suspicious/irrelevant emails - especially any attachments or links present in them. Additionally, it is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. However, malware is not spread exclusively through spam campaigns.

Malicious programs are also distributed via dubious download channels (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal activation tools ("cracks"), and fake updates. Therefore, it is important to download only from official/verified sources and activate/update programs with tools provided by genuine developers.

It is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. This software has to be used to run regular system scans and 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 "Email Cloud" scam email letter:

Subject: ******** Have New Urgent Notification From Email's Cloud!!

 

Dear User,

 

A reminder that 5 New classified informations/documents assigned to '********* ' are available on ********* CLOUD

 

waiting retrieval or it would be automatically deleted from CLOUD

 

click here to retrieve Classified Information/document(s) now

 

Powered by
*********  CLOUD SERVICES


Unfortunately, this email is an automated notification, which is unable to receive replies.

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Email Cloud" spam campaign:

Email cloud 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.

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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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