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How to recognize phishing emails like Storage Server Failure?

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium

What is Storage Server Failure email scam?

Scammers use email to trick recipients into providing their passwords, credit card details or other personal information. They send deceptive emails disguised as letters from legitimate entities with website links (or attachments) in them. This email is disguised as a letter from email service provider.

Storage Server Failure email scam email spam campaign

Storage Server Failure phishing email in detail

Scammers behind this email seek to trick recipients into providing their Microsoft 365 login credentials (email address and password) on a fake Microsoft page. They claim that the mail storage limit has reached its maximum capacity and encourage recipients to upgrade it immediately. Otherwise, they will not be able to send or receive emails.

The website's address in this phishing email is definitely not the address of any official Microsoft website. It is strongly recommended not to provide any information on websites like this, especially if links to these websites are included in suspicious emails.

Threat Summary:
Name Storage Server Failure Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Email storage is full and needs to be upgraded
Disguise Letter from email service provider
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.
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Phishing emails in general

Most phishing emails are disguised as official, important, and (or) urgent letters from legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities. More examples of similar emails are "DHL Express Shipment Confirmation", "New Documents Assigned", and "New Fax Received".

Scammers behind emails of this type attempt to trick recipients into providing personal information that could be used to steal online accounts, identities, make unauthorized purchases, and so on. Emails also can be used to distribute malicious software.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Emails used to deliver malware contain malicious attachments or website links. Either way, the main purpose of those emails is to trick recipients into opening a malicious Microsoft Office or PDF document, executable file, JavaScript file, RAR, ZIP, or another archive file designed to install malware (for example, ransomware, Trojan).

Malicious documents opened with Microsoft Office 2010 and later cannot install malware unless users enable editing/content (macros commands) in them. Older MS Office versions do not have the "Protected View" mode. Thus, malicious documents opened with older versions infect computers without asking any permission.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Users should not open email attachments or links in emails sent from unknown or suspicious addresses, especially if those links or files are included in irrelevant emails. Also, users should not trust downloads from unofficial pages, third-party downloaders, and other sources and use only official pages and direct links to download files, programs.

Additionally, users should update or activate installed software properly - it should be done using tools or functions provided by the official developers. One more way to keep a computer safe is to scan it for threats regularly and do it using a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software.

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 Storage Server Failure email scam:

Subject: Note: ******** has reached the storage limit.

Disable Email Notifications - storage server failure

We write to inform you that you have used up your mail storage limit of 99.0 Gigabyte as defined per your system Admin.
You will be blocked for sending and receiving emails if you will not upgrade it today.
Kindly click on the link below for immediate upgrade to receive additional storage space.

Click Here To Add More Storage

Warm Regards,
Mail Service Administrator.

Client Area | Mail Service Blog

Screenshot of the fake Microsoft website designed to steal login credentials (email addresses and passwords):

storage server failure email scam website used to steal login credentials

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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Quick menu:

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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