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Avoid losing your email via fake notifications about suspicious log-ins on Outlook

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium

What is "Your Outlook Account was logged in" email scam?

"Your Outlook Account was logged in" is the name of an email spam campaign. These emails claim that a suspicious log-in was detected on recipients' Outlook accounts. The goal of these fake letters is to promote a phishing website, which is disguised as an email account sign-in page.

Your Outlook Account was logged in email spam campaign

"Your Outlook Account was logged in" email scam overview

The scam emails present recipients with details of the fake log-in and inquire whether they recognize the activity. Should they not, the letters urge to change the allegedly compromised Outlook account's password, turn on two-factor authentication (2FA), and go to the account's settings to remove the suspicious device's access.

The links presented in these fraudulent notifications redirect to a phishing site. The page is disguised as an email account sign-in web page, yet users will inadvertently expose their email passwords by attempting to log in through it. Should log-in attempts have already been made, it is strongly advised to immediately change the passwords of all potentially affected accounts and contact their official support.

Emails are targeted due to being connected with (e.g., used to register) other accounts, platforms, services, etc. Hence, through stolen mail accounts - control might be gained over the content associated with them.

For example, cyber criminals can pretend to be the genuine owners of a communication account (e.g., email, social media, social networking, etc.) and ask the contacts/friends for loans. These platforms can also be employed for malware proliferation - by sharing malicious files and links.

Finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions or online purchases.

To summarize, victims of phishing scams can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Your Outlook Account was logged in Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim that a suspicious log-in has been detected to the recipients' Outlook accounts.
Disguise Scam emails are disguised as notification from Microsoft Outlook's official support
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

"WalletConnect email scam", "you have used up your mail storage", and "Your email account has been reported for spam abuse" are a couple examples of phishing emails.

The letters distributed through such campaigns can use various disguises and scam models. In addition to a broad range of schemes, this mail is also used to spread malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, etc.). Therefore, it is strongly advised to exercise care with incoming emails and messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can have infectious files attached to and/or linked inside them. Virulent files can be in various formats, e.g., Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so on. When these files are opened - the infection chain is initiated.

For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. This process is triggered when a document is opened in Microsoft Office versions released before 2010. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that stops this process; instead, users can manually enable macros (i.e., editing/content).

It must be emphasized that virulent documents often contain instructions intended to trick users into allowing the macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is ill-advised to open suspicious and irrelevant emails. The attachments and links present in such letters - must not be opened, as they are potential origins of system infections. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.

Aside from spam mail, malware is spread via dubious download channels (e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal activation tools ("cracks"), and fake updates. Hence, it is crucial to always download from official/verified sources and activate/update programs with functions provided by genuine developers.

It is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus installed and updated. This software has to be used to run regular system scans and to remove 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 "Your Outlook Account was logged in" scam email letter:

Subject: Email Account Login from a new device


Hi Customer,
Your Outlook Account was logged in to from Chrome (Mac OS X) near Kingwood, TX.
Time: November 8, 2021, 13:18 AM CST
IP address: 47.221.19.17
If this wasn't you, please take the following steps:

 

Change your password, and turn on two-factor identification.
Go to your email settings to remove the device from your account.

 

Be aware that this login may have come from a third-party service. Outlook doesn't support third-party services, but connecting them to your email account can trigger alerts like this.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center.
Sincerely,
The Outlook Team

 

This is an e-mail message sent automatically by Microsoft Outlook while testing the settings for your account.

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted through the "Your Outlook Account was logged in" spam campaign:

Your Outlook Account was logged in scam email 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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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:

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?

Spam emails are not personal; they are sent by the thousand in large-scale operations. Scammers distribute the letters in the hopes that at least some of the recipients will fall for their deception.

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

If you've entered account credentials - immediately change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and contact their official support. Should the disclosed information have been of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - contact the corresponding authorities without delay.

I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

No, opening and reading a spam email will not trigger any infection processes. Instead, malware download/installation is initiated by opening the email attachments or clicking the links found in the letters.

I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?

Whether an infection was triggered - depends on the file's format. If it was an executable, then most likely - yes. However, document formats (e.g., .doc, .pdf, etc.) can require additional actions (e.g., macro command enablement) to initiate infection processes.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware infections. It is noteworthy that sophisticated malicious software usually hides deep within the system. Therefore, performing a full system scan is crucial.

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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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