What kind of email is "Pending Payment"?
Our inspection of the "Pending Payment" email revealed that it is spam. The fake letter is presented as a final warning regarding a pending payment. This mail aims to lure recipients into following the provided link that leads to the download of a likely malicious file.
"Pending Payment" email virus overview
The scam email with the subject "Last Warning Tuesday, December 20, 2022" (may vary) notifies the recipient that there is an immediate payment pending to the company. The letter then urges the recipient to review the attached document.
When we clicked the "Find Attached Document Here" link, it redirected us to the WeTransfer file transferring platform. However, at the time of research, the hosted file had already been removed.
Typically, spam campaigns like "Pending Payment" proliferate malicious files that infect systems with trojans, ransomware, and other malware. It is not unlikely that the download link will be replaced with a valid one, and this malspam campaign will continue.
To summarize, by trusting an email like "Pending Payment" users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. If you believe that your device is infected, use an anti-virus to run a full system scan and remove all detected threats without delay.
|Name||"Pending Payment" spam email|
|Threat Type||Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.|
|Fake Claim||Payment is pending|
|Symptoms||Trojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate the victim's computer and remain silent, and thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.|
|Distribution methods||Infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software 'cracks'.|
|Damage||Stolen passwords and banking information, identity theft, the victim's computer added to a botnet.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Malspam campaign examples
We have analyzed countless malicious spam emails; "TEXTIMA Export email virus", "Annual Leave", "Concept Design Drawings", "Invoices Copies Are Not Clear", "CTM Arrangment email virus" – are just some examples of our newest finds.
Aside from malware proliferation, these letters are used to facilitate phishing and various other scams. Spam mail is often disguised as messages from legitimate service providers, companies, corporations, organizations, institutions, authorities, and so on.
Due to how widespread and competently crafted this mail can be – we strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
When such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection chain (i.e., malware downloads/installation) is initiated. 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 emails and other messages. The attachments and links present in suspicious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be malicious and cause infections. We advise using Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.
Since malware is not spread exclusively through spam mail, we also advise downloading only from official and verified sources. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updates can contain malware.
Another recommendation is to be vigilant when browsing since fraudulent and malicious online content typically appears ordinary and harmless.
We must emphasize the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security software must be used to perform 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 "Pending Payment" spam email letter:
Subject: Last Warning Tuesday, December 20, 2022
We hereby notify you to immediately pay the pending payment to the company
This notice was sent without prejudice to the comapany rights, all of which are hereby safegaurded
Find Attached Document Here
Tuesday, December 20, 2022/22
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 "Pending Payment" spam 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 mail in mass-scale operations – hence, thousands of users receive identical emails.
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 exposed 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/link, is my computer infected?
No, infection processes are only triggered when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to/ linked in a spam email, is my computer infected?
Whether your device was infected may depend on the open file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes. However, documents (.doc, .xls, etc.) may need additional user interaction (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 nearly all known malware infections. It is noteworthy that running a full system scan is essential – since high-end malicious software usually hides deep within systems.