Avoid losing your email account via fake "Junk Filter" email
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What kind of email is "Junk Filter"?
After inspecting the "Junk Filter" email, we determined that it is spam. This fake letter offers a bogus junk/spam mail filter to prevent the influx of unwanted content to the recipient's inbox. The aim of this phishing email is to trick recipients into disclosing their mail account log-in credentials.
"Junk Filter" email scam overview
The scam email with the subject "Junk Filter Activation For [recipient's_email_address]" (may vary) states that a large amount of spam/junk messages have been observed on the recipient's email account. Allegedly, the unwanted letters included malicious content that infected the mail account. The solution is a "Junk Filter" that the recipient is urged to activate by clicking the button presented in the letter.
As previously mentioned, all these claims are fake, and they are in no way associated with any legitimate entities.
When we pressed the "ACTIVATE JUNK FILTER" button, it resulted in a redirect to a website that was nonfunctional at the time. However, it is highly likely that it was intended to operate as a phishing site targeting log-in credentials. It must be mentioned that this may be rectified in future releases of the "Junk Filter" spam campaign.
Typically, mail of this kind promotes websites disguised as email account sign-in pages. Information (e.g., email account addresses and corresponding passwords) entered into a phishing site is recorded and sent to scammers. In addition to stealing the exposed mail accounts, cyber criminals may be capable of hijacking the content registered through them.
To elaborate, stolen finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make unauthorized transactions or online purchases. Scammers can also steal the identities of social account owners (e.g., emails, social networking, messengers, etc.) and ask the contacts/friends/followers for loans, promote scams, and even proliferate malware by sharing malicious files/links.
To summarize, by trusting an email like "Junk Filter" – users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.
If you have disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay.
|Name||"Junk Filter" phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Recipient's email account was infected by spam mail, and they are advised to active a junk filter.|
|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
"Check Your Email", "Bank Slip", "Webmail Security Changes", and "SaphetyDoc" are merely some examples of spam emails we have inspected recently.
These letters are used for various scams and even to distribute malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.). This mail is often disguised as messages from legitimate companies, corporations, institutions, authorities, service providers, and other entities.
Due to how widespread and well-crafted spam mail can be, we strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
When such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection chain is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands, while virulent OneNote files need users to click on embedded files/links.
How to avoid installation of malware?
We highly recommend being careful with incoming emails and messages. The attachments and links present in suspicious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be malicious. We advise using post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.
It must be stressed that malware is not proliferated exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we also advise being cautious while browsing since fraudulent and dangerous online content usually appears legitimate.
Another recommendation is to download only from official and verified channels. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated using genuine functions/tools, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and fake updates can contain malware.
We must emphasize that having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date is essential to device and user safety. 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 "Junk Filter" spam email letter:
Subject: Junk Filter Activation For -
We have noticed a lot of spam/junk messages in your mail and some have infected your email due to malicious contents.
We have come up with a solution [Junk Filter].
To protect your account from receiving Junk/Spam messages click below link to activate your junk filter immediately.
ACTIVATE JUNK FILTER
- Mail Administrator
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 "Junk Filter" 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. They are distributed in massive campaigns – hence, thousands of users receive identical letters.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?
If you have provided your log-in credentials – immediately change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support. And if you've disclosed 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, merely opening/reading an email will not result in a system infection. Malware download/installation processes are triggered when malicious attachments or links are opened.
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, you might have avoided it if the file was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.). These formats may need additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.) – to start downloading/installing malware.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to detect and remove threats. It is capable of eliminating nearly all known malware infections. Note that running a full system scan is essential – since sophisticated malicious programs usually hide deep within systems.
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