Do not trust phishing emails claiming that myGov has sent you a secure message

Also Known As: "MyGov Secure Message" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "MyGov Secure Message"?

Our examination of the "MyGov Secure Message" email revealed that it is fake. This phishing letter is presented as a notification from myGov – a multi-purpose service provided by the Australian Government. myGov primarily deals with government-related (or adjacent) services by providing digital identity validation.

The "MyGov Secure Message" scam email aims to trick recipients into attempting to sign into their myGov accounts via a phishing site. Trusting this spam letter can result in a variety of severe issues. Therefore, the false claims must be ignored, and the email must be reported as spam.

MyGov Secure Message email spam campaign

"MyGov Secure Message" email scam overview

The spam email's subject "Failed ATO Payment" (may vary) states that a payment to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) was unsuccessful. The body of the letter reports that the recipient has a secure message from myGov. The details are listed below, and the message's subject implies that the notification relates to a confirmation of an EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) deposit.

It must be stressed that this email is fake, and it is in no way associated with either the myGov service or the Government of Australia.

This scheme may be quite convincing as certain private documents are delivered through myGov rather than standard email.

Furthermore, the fake myGov website promoted by this spam campaign mimics the real sign-in page of this service. However, regardless of its relatively legitimate appearance, that site is fraudulent. Log-in credentials (i.e., email/username and password) entered into this phishing webpage will be recorded and sent to scammers.

myGov encompasses a variety of essential services, including (but not limited to): the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink for social welfare applications and payments, Medicare for health care, electronic health records, child support, disability payments, and others. Therefore, having a myGov account stolen can pose grave threats.

Since this service facilitates digital identity validation services, victims can have their identities stolen and then used for nefarious purposes. Likewise, the finance-related aspect of myGov could allow the cyber criminals access to victims' funds or banking accounts.

To summarize, by trusting a "MyGov Secure Message" scam email – users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

If you have already disclosed your log-in credentials – immediately change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. Contacting the appropriate authorities may also be necessary.

Threat Summary:
Name "MyGov Secure Message" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient has been sent a secure message via myGov.
Disguise myGov
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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Spam campaigns in general

Spam emails are widespread. These letters can be competently crafted or incredibly simplistic. They may be disguised as messages from legitimate entities (e.g., authorities, service providers, companies, etc.) or be utterly vague on details.

This spam is used for various scams, including phishing that targets information like log-in credentials, personally identifiable details, finance-related data, and so on. "Samples Of Product", "Server Security Alert", and "Request To Delete Your Email" are just a few examples of phishing letters that we have investigated recently.

Furthermore, deceptive emails are used to distribute trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, and other malware.

Due to the prevalence of spam mail, we strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can include malicious files as attachments or download links. These files come in various formats, e.g., documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth.

When such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection process (i.e., malware download/installation) is jumpstarted. 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 strongly advise being careful with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages. The attachments or links found in suspect/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be infectious.

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

Since malware is not spread exclusively via spam mail, we also recommend being vigilant while browsing since fake and malicious online content usually appears ordinary and innocuous.

Furthermore, all downloads must be performed from official and trustworthy channels. Another recommendation is to activate and update software by using genuine functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters can contain malware.

We must emphasize that having a reputable anti-virus installed and updated is essential to device/user safety. Security programs 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 "MyGov Secure Message" spam email letter:

Subject: Failed ATO Payment

secure@my.gov.au has sent you a secure message.

Subject: Re: V00001631301 EFT Deposit Confirmation
From: secure@my.gov.au
To: -
Expiry Date: 10/05/2023

View Secure Message

Note: Message will expire after 24 hours.

This message brought to you by MyGov

Screenshot of the fake myGov website promoted by this spam campaign:

MyGov Secure Message 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. Cyber criminals distribute this mail in massive campaigns – therefore, 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 disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if the exposed information is particularly sensitive (e.g., related to identity, finances, etc.) – immediately contact the corresponding authorities.

I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked; merely reading an email is not enough to trigger malware download/installation processes.

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 an infection if it was a document (.doc, .one, .xls, .pdf, etc.). These formats may require additional actions (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 designed to detect and eliminate threats. It is capable of removing nearly all known malware infections. Note that since high-end malicious software usually hides deep within systems – performing a full system scan is paramount.

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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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