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Avoid losing your account through "Session Validation Error" phishing email

Also Known As: "Session Validation Error" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Session Validation Error"?

Our inspection of the "Session Validation Error" spam email revealed that it operates as a phishing scam. The letter states that an error occurred in the recipient's mailbox. When an attempt is made to rectify the error – the user is redirected to a phishing website. This page mimics the recipient's email account sign-in site.

Session Validation Error email spam campaign

"Session Validation Error" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "Mailbox Error Notification [recipient's_email_address]" (may vary) states that twenty incoming messages could not be retrieved due to a session validation error. The recipient is instructed to click the link presented in this letter to release the withheld emails.

When we pressed the "Fix Auth. Error" button – it resulted in a redirect to a phishing site. This webpage is designed to visually recreate the visitor's email account sign-in page. Regardless of this webpage's legitimate appearance – it is fake and intended to record the log-in credentials provided to it.

With this information in their possession, the cyber criminals can steal exposed email accounts. It must be mentioned that since emails are typically used to register other content - it might be hijacked as well. Criminals can variously abuse stolen accounts.

Social platforms (e.g., emails, social networking, social media, chats, forums, etc.) can be used to steal the owner's identity and ask the contacts/friends/followers for loans or donations. These accounts can also be employed to spread spam/scams and even distribute malware (by sharing malicious files/links).

Stolen finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make unauthorized transactions and online purchases.

In summary, by trusting emails like "Session Validation Error" – users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

If you have already entered your log-in credentials into a phishing website – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and contact their official support without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "Session Validation Error" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Incoming emails were undelivered due to a session validation error.
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

"CFDI Manager Emisión email scam", "Mailbox Software Update", "Netflix - We've Suspended Your Membership", and "New Sign-in With Your Mail Account" are just a few examples of phishing spam campaigns.

These letters can target a wide variety of information ranging from log-in credentials to personally identifiable details. Deceptive emails facilitate various scams and even spread trojans, ransomware, and other malware.

Spam mail is widespread and can have convincing disguises; therefore, we strongly advise being cautious with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns proliferate malware via malicious files attached to or linked inside emails/messages. Virulent files can be in various formats, e.g, executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and so forth.

When an infectious file is executed, run, or otherwise opened - the malware download/installation process is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We advise being careful with incoming emails and messages. The attachments or links found in suspicious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be malicious and cause system infections.

It is important to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.

However, malware is not distributed exclusively via spam mail. Hence, we also advise downloading from official and trustworthy sources. Furthermore, software must be activated and updated using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters can contain malicious programs.

It is essential to be cautious when browsing since illegitimate and dangerous online content usually appears ordinary and harmless.

We must emphasize that having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date is paramount to device/user safety. Security software must be used to perform regular system scans and to 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 "Session Validation Error" spam email letter:

Subject: Mailbox Error Notification -


Session Validation Error


Some incoming emails (20) cannot be retrieved from your inbox. An error occurred with your current session authentication.


Use the link below to fix errors for the automatic retrieval of 20 emails.


Fix Auth. Error


© 2022 - All rights reserved.

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Session Validation Error" spam campaign:

Session Validation Error 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, and they are distributed by the thousand.

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

If you have disclosed your account credentials – immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support. And if the disclosed data was of a different personal nature (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, merely opening an email will not trigger any malware download/installation chains. Systems are infected when malicious attachments or links found in spam mail are opened/clicked.

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. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes. However, if it was a document (.doc, .xls, etc.) – you may have avoided jumpstarting the infection process. These formats can require additional interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to begin downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate practically all known malware infections. It must be stressed that since sophisticated malicious programs tend to hide deep within systems – running a full system scan is crucial.

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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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