How to spot email scams like "Server Configuration Manager" scam

Also Known As: Server Configuration Manager phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Server Configuration Manager"?

After examining this letter, our team concluded that it is a phishing scam where scammers attempt to extract personal information. It contains a hyperlink designed to open a phishing website. That website asks to provide login credentials. Thus, this email must be ignored.

Server Configuration Manager email scam

More about the "Server Configuration Manager" email scam

The email is disguised as a letter from a server administrator regarding server configuration. It claims that a domain account will be suspended due to an error while installing updates for the webmail server. It contains details such as server IMAP address, server name, and port. It also contains the "Server Update" hyperlink.

Scammers behind this email attempt to trick recipients into clicking the "Server Update" button and entering their usernames and passwords on the opened page. Scammers can use the provided information to hijack personal accounts (e.g., social media, email, gaming accounts).

They can use stolen accounts to make fraudulent purchases, transactions, and other purposes (it depends on the type of stolen accounts). Also, scammers can sell extracted usernames and passwords to third parties and disclose them on the darknet. Either way, this and similar emails must be ignored.

Threat Summary:
Name Server Configuration Manager Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim The domain account will be suspended due to an error during your webmail server update installation process.
Disguise Letter from the server administrator
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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How do spam campaigns infect computers?

As a rule, scammers behind phishing emails pretend to be legitimate entities. Their goal is to trick recipients into providing credit card details, login credentials, and (or) other sensitive information. Typically, their emails contain a link (or links) designed to open fake/deceptive websites.

More examples of similar emails are "Password Verification Email Scam", "Unusual Sign-in Activity Email Scam", and "Whats App - Missed Voice Message Email Scam". It is important to know that emails can be used to spread malicious software.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cybercriminals behind emails used to deliver malware aim to trick recipients into opening malicious links or attachments. In both cases, computers get infected after users download and execute a malicious file. Usually, threat actors use MS Office, PDF documents, JavaScript files, executables, or archives to distribute malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not click links or open attachments (files) sent from suspicious or unknown addresses. Note that emails used to deliver malware usually are irrelevant and disguised as letters from legitimate companies (or other entities). Also, download software from official/legitimate pages and stores.

Do not use P2P networks, third-party downloaders (or stores), shady websites, etc., to download file sand programs. Keep the operating system and installed software up to date. Use tools provided by the official developers to update and activate all software.

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 "Server Configuration Manager email scam" email letter:

Subject: Server configuration

Server Configuration Manager           

This is to inform you that your domain account will be suspended due to an error during your webmail server update installation process.

Server IMAP Address (POP3) : *********
Server Name: mail.*********
Server Port : (587)

Your domain server (DNS) default must be Restored.
Server  Update

This is an automated reply to your email and shall get back to you shortly.

Thank you for choosing our services. Your e-mail is important to us.
This email was sent to  *********

********* Copyright © 2022   Inc. A ll rights reserved

Screenshot of the deceptive page:

server configuration manager email scam phishing website

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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?

This email is not personal - scammers send the same email to all (or most) addresses in their database. Typically, emails used in their campaigns are the ones that have been leaked after data breaches.

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

If you clicked the link and provided your username and password on the opened page, change all passwords as soon as possible. Note that scammers can try to access various accounts with the same password hoping that victims are using the same password for more than one account.

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

It depends on the type of the opened file. Executable files infect computers right after they are opened. However, PDF, Microsoft, and other documents do not infect computers until additional steps are performed (e.g., macros commands are enabled). ZIP,  RAR, and similar files cannot cause damage without extracting and opening their contents.

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

No, it is safe to open emails without clicking links and opening attachments.

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

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and remove almost all known malware. It is important to mention that high-end malware usually hides deep in the system. Therefore, a full system scan must be used to eliminate such malware.

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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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