What kind of email is "Blocked (Important) Incoming Messages"?
"Blocked (Important) Incoming Messages" is a spam email, which our inspection revealed to be a phishing scam. This letter attempts to deceive recipients into revealing their email account log-in credentials by claiming that a number of messages have failed to reach their inbox.
"Blocked (Important) Incoming Messages" email scam overview
The email with the subject "[recipient's_email_address] (4) Important Message Pending!!!" (may vary) informs that four new messages are pending arrival into the inbox. According to this fake letter, the emails were blocked because of a server error. The names of the nonexistent messages relate to payments.
As mentioned in the introduction, this spam email is fake, and all its claims are bogus. Therefore, when the "VIEW ALL YOUR MESSAGES" link is clicked, it results in a redirect to a phishing site. This website is presented as an email account sign-in page.
The data (i.e., email account passwords) entered into this webpage are revealed to the scammers behind this spam campaign. Victims of this scam risk more than just losing their email account, as the cyber criminals can also steal associated content (e.g., accounts, platforms, services, etc., registered with the email).
To expand upon how this unauthorized access can be abused, scammers can use stolen financial accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases. Cyber criminals can pretend to be the actual owners of communication accounts (e.g., email, social networking, social media, etc.) and ask the contacts/friends/followers for loans/donations or spread malware by sharing malicious files/links.
To summarize, by trusting emails like "Blocked (Important) Incoming Messages" - users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
If you have already provided your log-in data to a phishing website, we strongly advise changing the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and contacting their official support without delay.
|Name||"Blocked (Important) Incoming Messages" phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Four messages have failed to reach the recipient's inbox and are currently pending.|
|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
Deceptive letters are used to facilitate all manner of scams, and they are often used to proliferate trojans, ransomware, and other malware. These emails can wear a broad range of disguises that may be competently crafted. Due to this and the prevalence of spam mail, we highly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails and messages.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Once such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection process is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands.
How to avoid installation of malware?
We advise vigilance with incoming emails and messages. The attachments and links found in suspicious/irrelevant mail must not be opened since that can result in a system infection. We recommend using Microsoft Office versions released after 2010, as they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.
However, malware is distributed using a variety of methods. Therefore, we also advise downloading only from official and trustworthy sources. Furthermore, it is crucial to activate and update software using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updates may contain malware.
Another recommendation is to be careful when browsing since fraudulent and malicious content typically appears ordinary and innocuous.
We must stress the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security programs must be used to run regular system scans and to remove 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 "Blocked (Important) Incoming Messages" spam email letter:
Subject: ******** (4) Important Message Pending!!!
Blocked (Important) Incoming Messages
Your 4 incoming new messages are suspended on the server pending receiving.
There was a server error on:
Date: 9/13/2022 6:06:56 a.m.
To view and release all messages, use the link: VIEW ALL YOUR MESSAGES
Recipient: Subject: date:
1. ******** Payment Returned
2. ******** Remmitance Copy
3. ******** Re: Proforma Invoice
4. ******** Re:Payment
Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Blocked (Important) Incoming Messages" spam campaign:
Instant automatic malware removal:
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 "Blocked (Important) Incoming Messages" 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?
Cyber criminals distribute spam emails in large-scale operations - 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 disclosed log-in credentials - immediately change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support. And if you have revealed other private information (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - contact the appropriate authorities without delay.
I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
No, opening/reading an email will not initiate any system infection processes. The malware download/installation chains are jumpstarted by opening the attachments or links found in spam mail.
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. Executables (.exe, .run, etc.) infect devices almost without fail the moment they are opened. While documents (.xls, .doc, .pdf, etc.) may need additional user interactions (e.g., enabling macro commands) to begin downloading/installing malicious programs.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating practically all known malware infections. It must be emphasized that performing a full system scan is essential - since high-end malicious software typically hides deep within systems.