How to spot deceptive emails like "Microsoft Defender Protection"
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What kind of email is "Microsoft Defender Protection"?
Upon scrutinizing the letter, we have concluded that it is a fraudulent email that has been created by scammers with the intention of tricking recipients into contacting them. The email is disguised as a communication from Microsoft and includes a fake customer support number. We strongly advise recipients to disregard such emails.
More about the "Microsoft Defender Protection" scam email
The email appears to be a phishing scam designed to trick recipients into calling a fake customer care number. The subject line reads "Order Confirmation", and the sender appears to be Microsoft Accounts.
The email claims that recipients have renewed their Microsoft Defender protection for a year and provides details about the purchase, including an invoice ID, product description, quantity, and price.
The email urges recipients to review the attachment for more information and warns that the invoice is only valid for 72 hours. It also includes a phone number for customer care that is fake. Typically, when scammers behind such emails are called, they use a variety of tactics to deceive callers and steal their personal information or money.
It is important to mention that scammers may also attempt to obtain remote access to computers. They may do this by pretending to be a tech support representative or claiming that computers have been infected with viruses. In such cases, scammers instruct victims to download a remote access tool or visit a website that grants them access to their computers.
Once scammers have access to computers, they can steal personal information, install malware, take control of the device, and perform other malicious actions. A couple of examples of scams where scammers urge individuals to call fake technical support numbers to obtain remote access to computers are TeamViewer scam and UltraViewer scam.
|Name||Microsoft Defender Protection Email Scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Microsoft Defender protection has been renewed|
|Fake Customer Support Number||+1-845-261-0662|
|Disguise||Letter from Microsoft|
|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.
Similar scam emails in general
Emails of this kind often create a sense of urgency or panic in recipients, prompting them to take immediate action. This may be done by threatening to close an account, warning of a security breach, or claiming that recipients have won a prize.
Also, these emails often use a deceptive sender name, such as a legitimate company or organization, to appear trustworthy to recipients. Usually, scammers behind such emails aim to extract personal information such as passwords, Social Security numbers, credit card information, etc.
Examples of email scams are "HR Added You To The Working Group Email Scam", "Max-Lotto Email Scam", and "Microsoft Outlook Mailbox Configuration Email Scam". It is important to know that emails can be used to trick recipients into infecting their computers.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Emails that contain malware have either malicious links or attachments in them. These emails are particularly hazardous because users often unwittingly infect computers with malware by enabling macros in malicious documents or opening malicious executables.
How to avoid installation of malware?
In order to protect yourself from potential cyber threats, it is important to be cautious when receiving unsolicited or irrelevant emails from unknown or suspicious sources. These emails may contain infected files or links to pages hosting malware.
Moreover, it is recommended to download applications and files only from official sources and to avoid using third-party downloaders, P2P networks, or other unreliable sources. It is also advised to refrain from clicking on ads on dubious websites.
Additionally, keep the operating system and installed programs up to date and use reputable antivirus software. 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 "Microsoft Defender Protection" email letter:
Subject: Order Confirmation
Customer ID : 6634098
Invoice ID : MS-8547-61263
Email : email@example.com
Date : 30-03-2023
Thank you for renewing your Microsoft Defender protection!
We are happy to inform you that your renewal is complete and you will be able to continue using the service for another year.
Product Microsoft Defender Protection
Description 1 Year subscription (till : 30-03-2024)
You can find more information about this purchase in the attachment below. Please note that this invoice is only valid for 72 hours from the date of purchase, so please take a moment to review it now.
If oyu have any questions or concerns about this invoice or your recent purchase, please contact our customer care representative at +1 845.261.0662 They will be happy to help answer any questions you might have.
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 Microsoft Defender Protection 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?
The perpetrators behind spam emails send out identical messages to thousands of recipients in the hope that at least one person will fall for their scam. These emails are never personalized and lack any specific targeting.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by this email, what should I do?
In the event that you have disclosed any of your account credentials, it is crucial to change all associated passwords without delay. If you have shared any other personal information, such as credit card details or ID card information, you should notify the appropriate authorities.
I have downloaded and opened a malicious file attached to an email, is my computer infected?
If the file in question was an executable, then the likelihood of infection is relatively high. However, if it was a document file (such as .pdf or .doc), there is a chance that you may have avoided infection since simply opening the document may not always be enough for malware to penetrate your system.
I have read the email but did not open the attachment, is my computer infected?
Merely opening an email poses no danger on its own. The real risk of system infection arises when the user clicks on links within the email or opens attached files.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?
Combo Cleaner is equipped to identify and eradicate nearly all known malware infections. However, it is important to note that advanced malware often conceals itself deep within the system. For this reason, running a full system scan is imperative.
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