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How to spot phishin emails like "Login Session Authentication"

Also Known As: Login Session Authentication phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What is the "Login Session Authentication" email scam?

After examining this email, we discovered that this is a fake letter from the email service provider regarding an authentication error. It is written/sent by scammers who aim to trick recipients into providing their login credentials on a phishing page. This and similar emails must be ignored.

Login Session Authentication email scam

More about the "Login Session Authentication" email scam

This email claims that there are several pending emails (emails "stuck on the server") in the specified account. It says that an error occurred while verifying the current session. It is created to trick recipients into believing they must authenticate their session via the provided link to receive pending emails.

Clicking the "SESSION AUTHENTICATION" button in this email opens a deceptive login website asking to provide an email address and the password (the design of that page may depend on the recipient's email provider). Typically, scammers use such websites to steal online accounts. They can steal multiple accounts when victims use the same password (and email) for more than one account.

Threat Summary:
Name Login Session Authentication Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Emails are "stuck in the server" due to an authentication error
Related Domain peakrock[.]be
Detection Names (peakrock[.]be) Combo Cleaner (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), G-Data (Phishing), Google Safebrowsing (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address 94.176.98.70
Disguise Letter from the email service provider
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.
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Similar scams in general

Phishing emails (emails used to extract personal information from recipients) are usually disguised as official letters from legitimate entities. Scammers behind these emails attempt to trick recipients into providing credit card details, usernames, passwords, and other personal/sensitive information.

Examples of similar emails are "Meeting Reminder Email Scam", "Unicaja Banco Email Scam", and "Server Configuration Manager Email Scam". Cybercriminals use emails not only to obtain sensitive information but also to proliferate malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Recipients of emails used to deliver malware infect computers after they download and open malicious files. Threat actors who use email to distribute malware send emails containing malicious attachments or website links. Their goal is to trick users into opening malicious MS Office, PDF documents, archive files (e.g., ZIP, RAR), ISO files, JavaScript files, or other files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Inspect emails carefully before opening attachments or links in them. Note that files and links in irrelevant emails sent from unknown/suspicious addresses can be malicious. Download software from official pages and stores. Do not use unreliable sources (e.g., unofficial pages, third-party downloaders, P2P networks) to download software.

Keep the operating system and installed software up to date. Never use tools that are provided/created not by the official developer to update and activate any 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 "Login Session Authentication email scam" email letter:

Subject: Authentication error in ******** on 8/8/2022 11:04:04 a.m.

        
Login Session Authentication

This notification is addressed to your email ********


You have pending emails, (7) that are stuck on the server.


An error occurred while verifying the current session.

Please authenticate your session below to receive pending emails (7).

SESSION AUTHENTICATION
                

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 will continue to receive emails related to your account. If you believe you have received this email in error, please forward it to our customer service at ********

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

2021 ******** Inc.

Screenshot of the deceptive page:

login session authentication email scam phishing page

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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?

Most likely, your email address is among many other addresses used in this scam campaign. Scammers send the same email to all addresses hoping that someone will fall for their scam.

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

If you have opened the website provided in this email and entered your password on it, then change all passwords immediately. Especially if you use the same password to access more than one account.

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

Malicious MS Office documents do not infect computers until users enable macros commands. Archive files do not infect computers until their contents are executed. It depends on the type of file that was opened. If you opened an executable file, your computer is probably already infected.

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

No, emails cannot infect computers. Computer infections cannot be caused without opening links or attachments in emails.

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

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate malware from the operating system. Since high-end malware usually hides deep in the system, running a full system scan is required to eliminate it.

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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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