Avoid losing your account via "Email Shutdown In Progress" phishing email
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is "Email Shutdown In Progress" email scam?
After inspecting the "Email Shutdown In Progress" email, we determined that it is spam. This fake letter threatens that the recipient's email account is pending deactivation. The goal of this mail is to trick users onto providing their email account's log-in credentials to a phishing website.
"Email Shutdown In Progress" email scam overview
The email with the subject "Email Address Shutdown Notification" (may vary) states that the recipient has submitted a request to shut down their email account. The process will be initiated shortly, but if the request was submitted unwittingly or without the owner's knowledge - it can still be canceled. It must be emphasized that this letter is fake, as is the information in it.
When we clicked the "Cancel Email Address Shutdown" button, it caused a redirect to a phishing site. This website was presented as an email account sign-in page. It operates by recording the data provided to it, and with this information in the scammers' possession - they can steal the exposed email accounts.
Additionally, this may allow the cyber criminals to gain control over associated content (e.g., accounts registered through the email). To elaborate, criminals can pretend to be the real owners of hijacked social accounts (e.g., emails, social media, messengers, etc.) and ask the contacts for loans or proliferate malware by sharing malicious files/links.
Furthermore, cyber criminals can use stolen online banking, money-transferring, e-commerce, and similar finance-related accounts to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.
In summary, by trusting the "Email Shutdown In Progress" emails - users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||Email Shutdown In Progress phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Recipient's email account will be deactivated as requested, unless the process is cancelled.|
|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 campaign examples
We have analyzed thousands of spam emails; "Please find attached receipt", "Trezor email scam", and "DHL - YOUR GOODS ARE IN TRANSIT" are merely a few examples of the phishing letters we have inspected recently.
In addition to various scams, spam emails are also used to spread malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, etc.). Due to how widespread this mail is, we strongly advise exercising caution with incoming emails and messages.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
How to avoid installation of malware?
We advise against opening the attachments and links found in dubious/irrelevant emails and messages - as that may result in a system infection. Additionally, it is important to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macro commands.
However, malware is not proliferated just through spam mail. Therefore, we also recommend downloading from official/verified channels and activating/updating software with tools provided by legitimate developers.
We must stress the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Furthermore, this software has to be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected 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 "Email Shutdown In Progress" spam email letter:
Subject: Email Address Shutdown Notification
Email Shutdown in progress...
Notice, indicates that you recently made a request to shut down your email. This request will be processed shortly. If this request was made accidentally and you have no knowledge of it, you are advised to cancel the request now.
Cancel Email Address Shutdown
However, if you do not cancel this request, then your account will be deactivated shortly and all your data will be lost permanently.
This message is auto-generated from E-mail security server, and replies sent to this email can not be delivered. This email is meant for: [[-Email-]]
Copyright © 2022 - • Web Admin •
Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Email Shutdown In Progress" spam campaign:
Another example of a email shutdown-themed spam promoting a phishing website:
Text presented within:
Subject: Request to Close (-)
We received your request to shut down your email account (-)
Your account will be terminated on 17-April-2023
If you did not make this request,click below to cancel.
Enjoy using your Email and our services.
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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 Email Shutdown In Progress 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?
Spam emails are not personal. Cyber criminals send them by the thousand, hoping 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've 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 the corresponding authorities without delay.
I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
No, merely reading a spam email - will not initiate any malware download/installation processes. Systems are infected 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 an infection occurred might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - most likely, yes - your device was infected. However, document formats (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.) may require additional interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to begin downloading/installing malware.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices, detect and eliminate practically all known malware infections. It has to be stressed that performing a full system scan is crucial - since sophisticated malicious programs usually hide deep within systems.
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