Avoid having your email account stolen through "Validate Now" phishing email

Also Known As: Validate Now phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What is the "Validate Now" email?

After analyzing the "Validate Now" email, we determined that it is a phishing email. This letter attempts to lure recipients into providing their email log-in credentials by claiming that their email accounts will be closed.

Validate Now email spam campaign

"Validate Now" email scam overview

The "Validate Now" letter states that the recipient's email account will be closed due to their refusal to complete a security check. The removal will take place 24 hours after the provided date. The spam email urges the recipient to validate their account in order to prevent its removal.

Attempts to follow these instructions result in a redirect to a phishing website, which is disguised as an email account sign-in page. Passwords entered into this site will be disclosed to the scammers behind this spam campaign, thus allowing them to steal the exposed account.

Cyber criminals are particularly interested in emails as they are used to register various accounts, platforms, and services. Therefore, via a hijacked email - control might be gained over the content connected to it.

Criminals can use communication accounts (e.g., emails, social networking, messengers, etc.) to ask the contacts for loans or to proliferate malware (by sharing malicious files/links) - under the guise of the actual owner. Finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and online purchases.

To summarize, by trusting emails like "Validate Now", users can experience serious privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

If you have already entered your log-in credentials into a phishing webpage, we advise changing the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and contacting their official support immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Validate Now phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Email account will be closed unless it is validated.
Related Domains siasky[.]net
Detection Names (siasky[.]net) Avira (Malware), Combo Cleaner (Malware), Emsisoft (Phishing), Fortinet (Malware), Netcraft (Malicious), 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)

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Phishing spam campaign examples

"Email policy & privacy violation", "Zoho Email Scam", and "Signed In To From A New Windows Device" are merely a couple examples of emails akin to "Validate Now".

In addition to phishing and other scams, spam mail is used to distribute malware (e.g., trojans, cryptominers, ransomware, etc.).

Due to the prevalence of this deceptive and malicious mail, we highly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can contain malicious files as attachments. Alternatively, these letters may include links leading to malignant websites designed to trick users into downloading/installing malware or ones capable of doing so stealthily.

Infectious files can be executables, archives, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc. Once such a file is opened - the infection chain is triggered.

For example, opening a virulent document in Microsoft Office versions released prior to 2010 - allows it to execute malicious macro commands immediately. Later versions have "Protected View" mode, and users can only manually enable macros (i.e., allow editing/content). It is important to mention that these documents often contain deceptive instructions to bait users into enabling macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly advise against opening/clicking the attachments and links found in suspicious emails and messages, as they can contain malware. We also recommend using Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.

However, malware is not spread exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we must emphasize the importance of downloading from official and verified channels. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated with tools provided by genuine developers - since those obtained from third-parties may cause system infections.

It is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. This software must be used to perform 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.

Text presented in the "Validate Now" email letter:

Subject: ********* Closed Ticket #909453

Dear *********,
Due to your refusal of email security check, Your email will be closed 3/9/2022 7:09:44 a.m.

Removal will take place if not checked or validated in exactly 24 hours from 3/9/2022 7:09:44 a.m.

We highly recommend that you do any of the following and protect ********* and increase email the security.


Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Validate Now email scam" spam campaign:

Validate Now scam email promoted phishing site

Yet another example of email validation-themed spam email promoting a phishing site:

Validate Now spam email (2022-07-26)

Text presented within:

Subject: Webmail Server Timeout-Action Required            


Message from "*********" Registrar

There's  error in your mail server which hinder your mail delivery. This error has occured for the past 24hours in your email *********

In regard to this, (6) emails that could not be delivered to you were stucked in your server.

Kindly confirm your active session by using the below link to login and validate your email to clear this error.

Clear Error                             
This email was sent to *********   because it contains important information about your account. If you previously unsubscribed from Identity Guard® marketing emails, you will no longer receive special offers, but you will continue to receive emails concerning your account. If you believe you received this email in error, please forward it to our customer care team at *********

We will never ask you for your personal information in an email. We respect your privacy  If you no longer wish to receive marketing emails from Identity Guard®, you may  unsubscribe at any time.

© 2022 ********* Inc.

Screenshot of the promoted phishing site:

Phishing site promoted via Validate Now spam email (2022-07-26)

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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing 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.

Email-virus icon 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.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

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:

Example of an email spam

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 distribute spam emails in large quantities; hence, thousands of users receive the same letters. Spam mail is not personal.

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

If you have disclosed account credentials - change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you have provided other personal data (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - contact relevant authorities immediately.

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

If you have merely read a spam email - your device was not infected. Malware download/installation processes are triggered when the attachments or links found in this mail - are opened/clicked.

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

Whether an infection occurred may depend on the opened file's format. Executables (.exe, .run, etc.) cause infections upon opening almost without fail. While documents (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.) may require additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands, etc.) - to begin downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan systems, detect and eliminate most of the known malware infections. It is noteworthy that high-end malicious programs usually hide deep within systems. Therefore, performing a complete 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.

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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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