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How to recognize emails scams like the Office 365 phishing scam?

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium

What is Office 365 email scam?

Phishing emails are used to trick recipients into providing personal information. Scammers behind them attempt to obtain credit card details, bank accounts numbers, social security numbers, login credentials, or other information. This phishing email is used to extract email login credentials via a fake Office 365 page.

Office 365 email scam

Office 365 phishing email in detail

Scammers try to trick recipients into believing that their Office 365 account password will expire on the day this email has been received and to update it via the provided website ("Keep Same Password" hyperlink). That website is designed to look like the official Office 365 login page.

Users are asked to sign in using their email (or username) and password. It is important to mention that the URL of the official Office 365 page is office[.]com and not officce3655[.]com as the URL of this fake Microsoft page used to steal login credentials.

Threat Summary:
Name Office 365 Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Email account password will expire today
Disguise Letter from Office 365 (Microsoft)
Related Domain officce3655[.]com
Detection Names officce3655[.]com Combo Cleaner (Phishing), ESET (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), G-Data (Phishing), Lionic (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)

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 letters from legitimate entities. They contain a link designed to open a deceptive website where visitors are asked to enter personal information. More examples of similar emails are "New Mail Server System 4.0", "ING Bank", and "MijnOverheid". Emails also can be used to deliver malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Recipients infect computers through emails by opening malicious attachments or files downloaded via website links. Most cybercriminals send malicious PDF documents, Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript files, executable files, archive files.

Malicious MS Office documents cannot infect computers unless users enable macros commands (editing/ content) in them. Microsoft Office versions released before 2010 do not have the "Protected View" mode. Therefore, malicious documents opened with those versions infect computers without asking permission to enable macros commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Links, attachments in emails sent from suspicious, unknown senders should not be opened, especially if such emails are not relevant (for example, they mention invoices for products that have not been ordered. Files and programs should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links.

Installed programs have to be updated and activated using tools provided/designed by their official developers. A computer should be scanned for malware and other threats regularly. It is advisable to 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 Office 365 email scam:

Subject: ******** Expiration/Request=43

Office 365

********

Th⁠e Pa⁠s⁠sw⁠ord fo⁠r⁠ ********⁠ Wi⁠ll Ex⁠pi⁠re T⁠od⁠ay
u⁠se cu⁠rren⁠t pa⁠ssword to conti⁠nu⁠e for ********

Ke⁠e⁠p Sa⁠me⁠ Pa⁠ss⁠wor⁠d⁠

Fake Office 365 login page asking to enter email address (or username) and password:

office 365 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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

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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:

Malware process running in the Task Manager

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:

Autoruns application appearance

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.

Run Windows 7 or Windows XP in 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.

Run Windows 8 in 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.

Run Windows 10 in 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 archive and run Autoruns.exe application

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.

Refresh Autoruns application results

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".

Delete malware in Autoruns

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.

Search for malware and delete it

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did I receive this email?

Cybercriminals behind phishing scams send the exact same letter to thousands email addresses hoping that someone will fall for it. These emails are never personal.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by this email, what should I do?

If you have provided any account credentials (email addresses, usernames, passwords), change all passwords immediately. If you have provided other information like credit card details, ID card information, social security numbers, contact corresponding authorities as soon as possible.

What if an email sent by cybercriminals has a file attached to it, but I have not opened it. Is my computer infected?

No, opening emails is not harmful (it cannot cause damage). Recipients infect computers when they open attachments or links.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in the email attachment?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating almost all known malware infections. High-end malware can hide deep in the operating system. Therefore, it is recommended to run a full system scan to detect hidden malware.

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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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