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Avoid getting scammed by emails telling you to download undelivered messages

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium

What is the "download the pending mails manually" scam email?

"Download the pending mails manually" is the name of an email spam campaign. These scam letters supposedly relate to undelivered emails, which recipients are urged to download. Instead, this spam mail tries to obtain account log-in credentials (i.e., passwords) through an attached phishing file.

download the pending mails manually email spam campaign

"Download the pending mails manually" email scam overview

The spam emails claim that due to server upgrade errors, recipients have numerous undelivered messages. The pending emails have been piling up since the start of the week, and recipients have to download them.

The attachment, allegedly containing the nonexistent mail, is an HTML phishing file. Once opened, it requests users to sign in. Any information typed into this file will be recorded and sent to the scammer behind the scam emails. Therefore, by trying to log in through it - users will inadvertently expose their email accounts and have them stolen.

Emails are targeted as they are usually connected to (e.g., used to register) other accounts. Hence, through them - access might be gained to such associated content.

There are various ways that hijacked accounts can be used to generate revenue. For example, scammers can pretend to be the genuine owner of a communication platform (e.g., email, social media, social networking, etc.) and ask contacts for loans. The platforms can also be employed to proliferate malware by sharing malicious files or links.

Accounts relating to finances (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.

To summarize, by trusting phishing spam emails, users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name download the pending mails manually Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim that recipients have messages pending, which were undelivered due to server upgrade errors.
Attachment(s) pending mails.html (filename may vary)
Detection Names ESET-NOD32 (HTML/Phishing.Agent.BXT), Fortinet (HTML/Agent.BXT!tr), 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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Spam campaigns in general

"WalletConnect email scam", "HP ePrint email scam", and "Your Outlook Account was logged in email scam" are a couple examples of phishing emails. Deceptive emails can wear a broad range of disguises and use different scam models.

In addition to phishing and other scams, spam campaigns are also used to distribute malware (e.g., ransomware, trojans, etc.). Spam mail is widespread - therefore, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails and messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Systems are infected through virulent files sent as attachments or download links in spam emails. These files can be executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, and so forth. When these files are opened - malware download/installation is initiated.

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

It is noteworthy that infectious documents commonly contain messages designed to trick users into allowing macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is advised against opening suspect and irrelevant emails. The attachments and links found in these letters - must not be opened, as that can result in a system infection. It is also recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.

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

It is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus installed and updated. This software has to be used to perform regular system scans and to remove threats and issues. 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 "download the pending mails manually" scam email letter:

Subject: so many pending mails has been held.


Dear -

 

you have so many letters that has been pending since the beginning of the week.

 

this is as a result of error and upgrade on our server.

 

kindly download the pending mails manually below.

 

Mail Server Team.

Screenshot of the phishing file promoted by the "download the pending mails manually" spam campaign ("pending mails.html" filename):

download the pending mails manually scam email promoted phishing file (pending mails.html)

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 sent by the thousand in mass-scale operations. Therefore, many users receive the same scam letter.

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

If you have disclosed account credentials - immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and contact their official support. If the provided information was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - contact the relevant 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 malware download/installation processes. Infection chains are initiated when the email attachments or the links presented in them - are opened/clicked.

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

Whether an infection was jumpstarted depends on the opened file's format. It likely was initiated if the file was an executable. However, you might have avoided an infection if it was a document (e.g., .pdf, .doc, etc.). These formats can need additional actions (e.g., macro command enablement) to begin downloading/installing malicious software.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate most of the known malware infections. However, it is crucial to perform a full system scans since high-end malware tends to hide deep within systems.

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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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