Avoid losing your email account via fake "This Is A Secure Message" emails

Also Known As: "This Is A Secure Message" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "This Is A Secure Message"?

After we inspected the "This Is A Secure Message" email, we determined that it is spam operating as a phishing scam. The fake letter states that a secure message has been sent to the recipient – thus attempting to trick them into disclosing their email account log-in credentials.

This Is A Secure Message email spam campaign

"This Is A Secure Message" email scam overview

The email with the subject "You have received an essential encrypted company email - Remote ID - 23712316 - 3/22/2023 10:28:12 a.m." (may vary) states that the recipient has received a secure message via the ShareVault virtual data room. The scam letter then provides instructions on how to open the message, which is in an attachment.

It must be stressed that this email is fake, and it is in no way associated with the real ShareVault. When we opened the attached HTML file, it was presented as ShareVault. The phishing file instructed the user to sign in using either their work or business email account.

Log-in credentials (i.e., email address and corresponding password) entered into this file will be recorded and sent to cyber criminals behind the spam campaign. In addition to stealing the exposed emails, the criminals may be able to hijack the content registered through them. Depending on the sensitivity of the data connected to the mail – victims can experience severe issues and potentially devastating consequences.

For example, scammers can steal the identities of social account owners (e.g., emails, social networking, messengers, etc.) and ask the contacts/friends/followers for loans or donations, promote scams, and even proliferate malware by sharing malicious files/links.

Furthermore, cyber criminals can use finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, cryptocurrency wallets, etc.) to make unauthorized transactions and/or online purchases.

In summary, by trusting an email like "This Is A Secure Message" – users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

If you have already disclosed your account credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "This Is A Secure Message" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient has been sent a secure message.
Disguise ShareVault
Attachment(s) Securedoc_35956992.html (filename may vary)
Detection Names Google (Detected), Ikarus (Phishing.HTML.Doc), McAfee-GW-Edition (BehavesLike.HTML.MalPhish.mx), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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

We have analyzed thousands of spam emails; "Webmail Account Maintenance", "Voice Message In Your Office365 Extension", "Quotation Of Goods", and "New Project Proposal" are merely some examples.

These letters can be variously disguised, including as messages from legitimate companies, service providers, organizations, institutions, authorities, or other entities. In addition to facilitating various scams, spam mail distributes malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.).

Due to how prevalent and well-made spam mail can be, we strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can contain virulent files as attachments and download links. These files can be executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), documents (Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft Office, PDF, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth.

When an infectious file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the malware download/installation process is triggered. For example, virulent Microsoft OneNote files need users to click on embedded files/links, while Office documents rely on their malicious macro commands being enabled.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We highly recommend being careful with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages. The attachments and links found in suspicious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be virulent. It is important to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.

However, malware is not spread exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we advise being vigilant when browsing since fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears ordinary and innocuous.

Another recommendation is to download only from official/verified channels. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters can contain malware.

We must emphasize the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security software must be used to run 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 "This Is A Secure Message" spam email letter:

Subject: You have received an essential encrypted company email - Remote ID - 23712316 - 3/22/2023 10:28:12 a.m.

This is a secure message

How to Open

To read this message on desktop, open the securedoc_32976645.html
attachment in web browser

To read this message on a mobile device,
Download  this message to your phone
And open with any compatible browser.

Copyright B) 2011-2023   Share Vault, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Screenshot of the phishing attachment promoted by this spam campaign ("Securedoc_35956992.html"):

This Is A Secure Message scam email promoted phishing file (Securedoc_35956992.html)

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:
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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. This mail is distributed in mass-scale campaigns – 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 provided your log-in credentials – immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised 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, just opening/reading an email will not trigger any malware download/installation processes. Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked.

I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?

If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – your device was infected. And if the opened file was a document (.xls, .doc, .one, .pdf, etc.) – you might have avoided it. These formats may need additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking on embedded content, etc.) to begin downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating nearly all known malware infections. It must be mentioned that performing a complete system scan is essential – since high-end malware usually hides deep within systems.

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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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