What is the "Zoho Email Phishing Scam"?
"Zoho Email Phishing Scam" refers to spam emails that operate as phishing scams - under the guise of messages from the Zoho Corporation. It must be emphasized that such emails are in no way associated with the actual Zoho technology company.
Our researchers have found multiple instances of scam letters that use this company's name to promote practically identical phishing websites. These spam campaigns aim to trick recipients into disclosing their email account log-in credentials through said sites.
"Zoho Email Phishing Scam" overview
As mentioned in the introduction, our research revealed that there are many fake "Zoho" phishing emails being distributed. These scam letters can claim different things, yet they operate in the same manner.
For example, we inspected one with the subject "Your document has arrived", and it listed details concerning a file that was supposedly sent to the recipient. When the "View PDF Files" link presented in it was clicked - it redirected to a phishing site. This webpage mimics genuine graphical content associated with Zoho.
We observed similar websites being pushed through other "Zoho" scam emails. These pages attempt to bait users into entering their email account passwords by stating that the session has expired or through other false claims.
Cyber criminals can cause more damage than stealing the compromised email with this information in their possession. They may also gain access/control over content associated with (e.g., registered through) the email.
To expand upon this, criminals can steal the victim's identity and use their social accounts (e.g., emails, social networking/media, messengers, etc.) to ask the contacts for loans. Alternatively, such platforms can be used to proliferate malware by sharing malicious files or links. Finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.
To summarize, by trusting a phishing email, users can experience severe privacy issues, significant financial losses, and identity theft.
|Name||Zoho phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||New document has arrived.|
|Disguise||Email from the Zoho Corporation.|
|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 email examples
"Signed In To From A New Windows Device", "Blockchain[.]com email scam", and "DHL Shipment Details" are just a few examples of the phishing emails we have inspected. These deceptive letters can be used for a wide variety of scams, and they are commonly disguised as "official", "urgent", "priority", and similar. It must be mentioned that spam mail is also employed to spread trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, and other malware.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Spam emails can contain malicious files as attachments or links. The latter can lead to websites designed to trick users into downloading/installing malware or ones capable of doing so stealthily.
For example, MS Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands immediately when opened in pre-2010 Microsoft Office versions. Later versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents this, and users can manually enable macros (i.e., allow editing/content). Notably, infectious documents often contain deceptive instructions intended to lure users into enabling the macro commands.
How to avoid installation of malware?
We highly recommend exercising caution with incoming mail. The attachments and links found in suspicious emails and messages - must not be opened, as they can contain malware. Additionally, it is important to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.
Since malware is not spread exclusively via spam mail, we also advise downloading only from official and verified sources. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated with tools provided by legitimate developers, as those obtained from third-parties may cause system infections.
We must emphasize the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and updated. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Screenshot of one of the spam emails promoting the fake "Zoho" website used for phishing:
Text presented in this email letter:
Subject: Your document has arrived
New Documents Received
Type PDF file
Message ID F37C46E58
View PDF Files
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- What is Zoho 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?
Thousands of users receive the same spam emails - since cyber criminals distribute them in mass-scale operations with the hopes that at least some of the recipients will be tricked by their scams.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?
If you have provided account credentials - immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support. And if you have disclosed other private data (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - contact relevant authorities without delay.
I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
No, merely opening a spam email will not trigger any malware download/installation processes. Infection chains are jumpstarted when the attachments or links present in these letters are opened/clicked.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?
Whether your system was infected may depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - most likely, yes - your device was infected. On the other hand, document formats (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.) may require additional user interaction (e.g., macro command enablement) - to start downloading/installing malware.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate nearly all of the known malware infections. It must be stressed that performing a full system scan is crucial - since high-end malicious software tends to hide deep within the system.