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How to spot scams like Ministerio de Sanidad phishing email

Also Known As: Ministerio de Sanidad phishing scam
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Ministerio de Sanidad"?

Recently, it has been popular among scammers to send coronavirus-related emails to trick recipients into transferring money, providing sensitive information, and other purposes. We have examined this email and concluded that it is just another pandemic-related email scam. Scammers behind it attempt to trick recipients into providing sensitive information on a phishing site.

Ministerio de Sanidad email scam

"Ministerio de Sanidad" email scam in detail

Text in this email is written in Spanish. It is disguised as a letter from the Ministry of Health regarding COVID-19 vaccines. It claims that recipients have been chosen to receive an additional dose of vaccines. It also states that the offer stands for 72 hours from receiving the email.

The purpose of this email is to trick recipients into opening the provided phishing website and entering sensitive information on it. Typically, scammers behind phishing emails/websites target credit card details, login credentials, social security numbers, and other personal information.

Threat Summary:
Name Ministerio de Sanidad Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipients have been chosen to receive additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
Serving IP Address (Phishing Website) 45.55.167.181
Disguise Letter from the Ministry of Health
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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Similar emails in general

As a rule, phishing emails are disguised as urgent/important/official letters from legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities. Recipients are asked to provide personal information on the provided website or directly via email.

Examples of similar scams are "Your Account Will Be Suspended In 48hrs Email Scam", "Spam Quarantine Inbox Email Scam", "BNP PARIBAS Email Scam". It is important to know that emails sent by cybercriminals can contain malicious links or attachments.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Computers become infected through emails after opening a malicious attachment or file downloaded via a presented website link. In certain cases, opened malicious files cannot infect computers until users perform certain actions.

For example, malicious MS Office documents cannot infect computers until macros commands are enabled. Either way, malware infects computers when users execute it by themselves. More examples of files that can be used to distribute malware are PDF documents, executables, archives, JavaScript files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not open attachments and links in irrelevant emails sent from unknown (suspicious) addresses. In most cases, emails of this kind are used to deliver malware. Also, avoid using questionable sources (such as shady websites, third-party downloaders, P2P networks, etc.) for downloading files and programs.

Download software/files from official websites and use direct download links. Update and activate the installed software using tools provided by its official developer. Use reputable antivirus software for computer protection. 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 "Ministerio de Sanidad" email letter:

Subject: *********  Tenemos un anuncio urgente sobre la dosis extra de vacuna!
   

Ministerio de Sanidad
Estimado(a) ciudadano, correo eletrónico con caráter de urgencia.
 

Su número de suscripción 5710660-418.700 ha sido seleccionado para recibir una dosis adicional de vacunas contra el COVID-19 en los próximos días.
La elección de qué fabricante tomar es opcional según disponibilidad y debe realizarse en un plazo máximo de hasta 72 horas antes de la aplicación de la dosis.

Ahora vea su tarjeta con las instrucciones, el día y la hora. Estará disponible en nuestro portal hasta el 29 de marzo.

Si desea elegir la marca para la vacunación presencial, imprima el adjunto a continuación y acuda a cualquier puesto de salud con un documento personal con foto.


Tarjeta-Vacuna-5710660-418.700.PDF

#YoMeVacunoSeguro © Ministerio de Sanidad

 Correo privado a *********

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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?

Scammers send the same letter to all recipients. Their emails are never personal. It is likely that scammers obtained your email address after a data breach.

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

If you have provided account login credentials, change all passwords immediately. In other cases (if provided information was credit card details, ID card information, etc.), contact corresponding authorities.

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

If the file was a malicious executable, then most certainly yes. Opened malicious documents do not infect computers until certain actions are performed. The same applies to archive files.

I have read the email but did not open the attachment, is my computer infected?

No, reading/opening an email is harmless. Computer infections can be caused only after a malicious file is opened.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware. If a computer is infected with high-end malware, scan it using a full system scan. Otherwise, antivirus software will not detect malware that hides deep in the operating system.

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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.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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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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