Avoid getting scammed by emails telling you to download undelivered messages
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
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 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.
|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.
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?
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.
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):
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:
- What is Download The Pending Mails Manually spam?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious emails:
Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.
Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.
After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.
Emails with Malicious Attachments
Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.
In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.
If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.
While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.
This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.
To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.
How to spot a malicious email?
While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:
- Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
- Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
- Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
- Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.
To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
Example of a spam email:
What to do if you fell for an email scam?
- If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
- If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
- If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
- If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
- Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.
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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