What is "Download all your blocked email messages"?
After inspecting the "Download all your blocked email messages" letter, our researchers determined that it is a phishing scam. This email makes false claims about incoming messages having failed to reach the recipient's mailbox, and it instructs to update the account to retrieve the letters.
"Download all your blocked email messages" email scam overview
This spam email states that several incoming letters did not reach the recipient's inbox due to a failed server maintenance procedure. The fake email instructs the user to update their account and download the suspended messages. If they fail to do so, the pending letters will be deleted.
When we clicked on the link presented in the spam email, it redirected to a phishing website. This page requested the visitor to sign in (to their email account) to verify that they are not a robot. The passwords entered into the phishing webpage are recorded and delivered to the cyber criminals behind this spam campaign.
Stolen emails can be misused in a variety of ways. Through them, criminals can gain access/control over associated content (e.g., registered accounts, platforms, services, etc.).
Communication accounts (e.g., emails, social media, messengers, etc.) can be used to ask the contacts for loans or to distribute malware - under the guise of the genuine owner. Finance-related accounts (e.g., banking, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions or online purchases.
To summarize, by trusting the "Download all your blocked email messages" spam email, users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||Download all your blocked email messages phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Incoming emails were blocked due to a failed server maintenance procedure.|
|Detection Names (santaclaritavalleythrive[.]com)||Avira (Phishing), Combo Cleaner (Phishing), Emsisoft (Phishing), Kaspersky (Phishing), Microsoft (), 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.
Phishing spam email examples
"OpenSea scam email", "Removal From Server Has Been Approved And Initiated", "Your eMail account will be disconnected", and "Wage Bonus/Allowances email scam" are some examples of the phishing emails we have analyzed.
In addition to various scams, these letters are also used to proliferate malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, etc.). Due to how widespread spam mail is, we strongly advise exercising 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 is jumpstarted when a document is opened in MS Office versions released before 2010. Newer versions have a "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution. Instead, users manually enable them (i.e., allow editing/content). Note that virulent documents often contain messages designed to trick users into enabling macros.
How to avoid installation of malware?
To avoid malware spread via spam mail, we advise against opening/clicking the attachments and links found in suspicious and irrelevant emails. Additionally, we recommend using Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.
However, malicious programs are proliferated using various techniques. Therefore, we also advise downloading from official/verified sources. Furthermore, software must be activated and updated with tools provided by genuine developers, as those obtained from third-parties may contain malware.
We must emphasize the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. This software has to be used to perform regular system scans and to remove threats/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 all your blocked email messages" letter:
Subject: Email Server Update For **********
Due to the recent server maintenance failure, some of your incoming emails were blocked from reaching your mailbox. To rectify this problem, you are required to click on your email link below to update your email account on the server and download all your blocked email messages. Please note that your failure to comply to the instructions may result to loss of previous and future important email correspondences as your assigned email address may be automatically deleted from the server.
Click on (**********) to update your account on the server and download blocked emails.
© 2022 Server
Screenshot of the phishing website promoted through the "Download all your blocked email messages" spam campaign:
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- What is Download all your blocked email messages phishing email?
- 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?
Cyber criminals send spam emails in large-scale operations; therefore, thousands of users receive the same letters.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?
If you have provided account credentials - change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you have disclosed other private data (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, merely opening such an email will not trigger any malware download/installation processes. Malicious software is proliferated through the files attached to or linked inside spam emails.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?
If the opened file was an executable - most likely, yes. However, you might have avoided triggering a system infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.). These formats may require additional user interactions (e.g., enabling macro commands, etc.) - to begin malware download/installation 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 programs typically hide deep within systems. Hence, performing a full system scan is crucial.