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Do not trust emails claiming "Your Password Is Set To Expire"

Also Known As: Your Password Is Set To Expire phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What is kind of email is "Your Password Is Set To Expire"?

After inspecting the "Your Password Is Set To Expire" email, we determined that it is spam. The letter claims that recipients' email account passwords will expire in two days and urges them to prevent it by logging in through the promoted site.

It must be emphasized that this is a phishing scam; this fake letter targets users' log-in credentials in order to steal their email accounts.

Your Password Is Set To Expire email spam campaign

"Your Password Is Set To Expire" email scam overview

The email with the subject "Email Security Alert" (may vary) states that the (email account) password will expire in two days. If the "password activity" is maintained - the expiration will be prevented. The scam letter urges the recipient to click the "KEEP MY PASSWORD" button. When we clicked this button, it redirected us to a phishing site presented as an email account log-in page.

It must be stressed that since this email is fake, it is impossible to sign in through this webpage - instead, the credentials provided to it will be revealed to scammers.

It must be mentioned that via hijacked emails - cyber criminals may be able to steal associated content, e.g., social media, social networking, messaging, banking, online money transferring, e-commerce, and various other accounts registered with the email.

Cyber criminals can pretend to be the genuine owner of a social account and ask the contacts for loans or spread malware by sending them malicious files/links. Finance-related accounts can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.

To summarize, by trusting the "Your Password Is Set To Expire" email - users may experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have already entered your log-in credentials into a phishing webpage - immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and contact their official support.

Threat Summary:
Name Your Password Is Set To Expire phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Email account password will expire unless there is new activity on it.
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

We have inspected thousands of spam email samples; "Adobe Reader File email scam", "TrustWallet email scam", "Login Session Authentication", and "Correos email scam" are merely some of our newest phishing letter finds.

Emails of this kind can have a wide variety of disguises and use different models to trick recipients. However, this mail is not used exclusively for scams, it is also employed in malware proliferation.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can contain infectious files as attachments or download links (to sites designed to lure visitors into downloading/installing malware or ones capable of stealthily infiltrating said software). Virulent files can be archives, executables, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc.

Once such an infectious file is executed, run, or otherwise opened - malware download/installation processes are jumpstarted. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We highly recommend exercising caution with incoming mail. The attachments and links found in suspicious/irrelevant emails and messages - must not be opened as that can result in a system infection. It is just as important to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.

It is noteworthy that malware is not proliferated just via spam mail. Therefore, we advise downloading from official/verified sources and activating/updating programs with genuine functions/tools (as illegal activation ["cracking"] tools and fake updaters may contain malware).

Another recommendation is to be vigilant when browsing since illegitimate and malicious content usually appears harmless.

We must emphasize the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated. This software has to be used to run regular system scans and 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 "Your Password Is Set To Expire" scam email letter:

Subject: Email Security Alert


Dear User,


Your password is set to expire in two day(s).


We encourage you to take the time now to automatically maintain your password activity to avoid interruption.


KEEP MY PASSWORD


Note: webmail will not be held responsible for any account loss


Thank you.


Copyright © webmail 2022 . All Rights Reserved.

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Your Password Is Set To Expire" spam campaign:

Your Password Is Set To Expire scam email promoted phishing site

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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?

Spam emails are not personal. Cyber criminals distribute these letters in mass-scale campaigns - hence, thousands of users receive identical messages.

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

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

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

No, opening a spam email will not trigger any system infection processes. Malware download/installation chains are jumpstarted when the attachments or links present in this mail are opened/clicked.

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

If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - most likely, yes - your system was infected; these formats infect devices upon opening almost without fail. However, documents (.doc, .pdf, .xls, etc.) may require additional actions (e.g., enabling macro commands) to start downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate most of the known malware infections. It has to be stressed that since high-end malicious software tends to hide deep within systems - performing a full system scan is paramount.

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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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