What kind of email is "Email Security Update Scam"?
"Email Security Update Scam" refers to an email spam campaign that we have analyzed. We determined that it is a phishing scam targeting email account log-in credentials (passwords). These fake emails attempt to extract this information from recipients by claiming that security issues have occurred on their mail accounts.
"Email Security Update Scam" overview
The spam letter with the subject "[recipient's_email_address] EMAIL-UPDATE WARNING!!" informs that security-related issues have been observed on the recipient's mail account. Supposedly, these problems occurred due to a missed security update.
The scam email urges the victim to update their account by following the provided link. It must be stressed that these letters are fake. When we clicked said link, it resulted in a redirect to a phishing site that mimics the design of the victim's email sign-in page.
Phishing websites record the information entered into them; the webpage in question targets email account log-in credentials (specifically, passwords). With this data in their possession, the cyber criminals behind this scam can steal the exposed mail accounts.
Furthermore, the content registered through the account may be hijacked as well. To elaborate, scammers can use finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) to make unauthorized transactions or online purchases.
Stolen communication platforms (e.g., emails, social networking, messengers, etc.) can be used to ask the contacts/friends/followers for loans or to spread malware (by sharing malicious files/links) - under the guise of the account's genuine owner.
To summarize, by trusting the "Email Security Update Scam" or similar spam - victims can experience system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
If you have disclosed your log-in credentials - we advise immediately changing the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and contacting their official support.
|Name||"Email Security Update Scam" phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Email account security issues have been detected.|
|Disguise||Recipient's 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.
Phishing spam campaign examples
In addition to various scams, these letters are used to proliferate trojans, ransomware, and other malware. It is pertinent to mention that spam mail is usually disguised as "official", "important", "urgent", or similar. It can even be presented as emails from existing companies, institutions, organizations, authorities, service providers, and other entities.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Once such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened - malware download/installation processes are triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands.
How to avoid installation of malware?
We strongly advise against opening the attachments/links found in suspicious emails and messages, as they can be malicious and cause system infections. We recommend using post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.
It must be mentioned that spam mail is not the only malware distribution method. Therefore, we also advise downloading only from official/verified channels and activating/updating programs with legitimate tools (as illegal activation tools ["cracks"] and third-party updaters may contain malware).
We must stress the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove 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 Security Update Scam" email letter:
Subject: ******** EMAIL-UPDATE WARNING!!
We have noticed that your ******** is experiencing security issue in recent times due to lack of email security update
Kindly click on EMAIL-UPDATE to officially update ******** to a default security settings and increase your account security
Once confirmation is complete, your mailbox will security increase effectively.
Copyright ******** All rights reserved.
Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Email Security Update Scam" spam campaign:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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 Security Update Scam" 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, and thousands of users receive identical ones.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?
If you have provided account log-in credentials - change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you've disclosed other private data (e.g., ID card details, passport scans, credit card numbers, etc.) - immediately contact the appropriate authorities.
I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
No, merely reading an email will not result in a system infection. Malware download/installation processes are triggered when the attachments or links present in spam mail are opened/clicked.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?
If the opened file was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - most likely, yes - your device was infected. However, document formats (.doc, .pdf, 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 is capable of detecting and eliminating most of the known malware infections. It must be emphasized that running a full system scan is paramount - since sophisticated malicious programs typically hide deep within systems.