Avoid losing your account via fake "Domain Ownership Has Expired" emails
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What kind of email is "Domain Ownership Has Expired"?
After inspecting the "Domain Ownership Has Expired" email, we determined that it is spam operating as a phishing scam. The fake letter states that due to expired domain ownership, the recipient's email account will be deactivated. This spam email aims to deceive recipients into attempting to sign into their accounts via a phishing website.
"Domain Ownership Has Expired" email scam overview
The email with the subject "Re-validate your account" (my vary) claims that the recipient's domain ownership has expired. Due to this, access to their email account will be disabled within 72 hours. This means that it will be impossible to receive and send messages. Hence, unless the email is revalidated, the account will remain suspended. It must be stressed that all these claims are false.
When we attempted to access the website promoted through this spam letter, we discovered that the site was down. It is most probable that it was a phishing webpage, which was disguised as an email account sign-in page. Phishing sites operate by recording information entered into them (e.g., email addresses and corresponding passwords, etc.) and sending it to scammers.
It must be mentioned that future releases of the "Domain Ownership Has Expired" spam campaign could rectify the mistake and lead recipients to a functional phishing website.
Victims of such scams can experience a wider array of issues aside from having their email stolen. Since emails are used to register a wide variety of content, cyber criminals may gain access to it through a hijacked mail account.
To expand upon this, finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions or online purchases.
Scammers can also steal the identities of social account owners (e.g., emails, social networking/media, messengers, etc.) and ask the contacts/friends for loans or donations, promote scams, and distribute malware by sharing malicious files/links.
In summary, by trusting an email like "Domain Ownership Has Expired" – users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
If you have disclosed your log-in credentials – immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support.
|Name||"Domain Ownership Has Expired" phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Due to expired domain ownership, the recipient's email account will be suspended.|
|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
"MyGov Secure Message", "Samples Of Product", "Server Security Alert", "IMAP/POP Configuration Error", "You Have New 5 Held Messages", and "Request To Delete Your Email" are just some examples of phishing emails we have investigated recently.
These letters can target a variety of sensitive information, ranging from log-in credentials to credit card numbers. Spam mail is used to facilitate various scams and even to distribute malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.).
Due to how prevalent and well-crafted this mail can be – we strongly advise exercising caution with incoming emails and other messages.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
When an infectious file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the malware download/installation process is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands, while virulent OneNote files need users to click on embedded content (e.g., files, links, etc.).
How to avoid installation of malware?
We highly recommend approaching incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages with caution. The attachments or links present in suspect/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be infectious. It is crucial to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.
However, malware is not spread only through spam mail. Therefore, we also advise being careful while browsing since fraudulent and malicious online content typically appears legitimate and innocuous.
Furthermore, all downloads must be performed from official and verified channels. Another recommendation is to activate and update programs by using genuine functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters can contain malware.
It is paramount to have 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 "Domain Ownership Has Expired" spam email letter:
Subject: Re-validate your account
******** domain ownership has expired.
Access to your mailbox will expire in 72hrs, all your incoming and outgoing mails will be held.
We recommend that you Re-validate your account using the below portal to avoid service suspension.
Access to this account will be denied till proper update, this is a one time verification do not ignore this important notice.
******** © 2023
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 "Domain Ownership Has Expired" 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?
There is nothing personal about spam mail. Cyber criminals distribute these emails in massive operations – 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 account credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you have disclosed other private information (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the corresponding authorities.
I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
No, opening/reading an email will not result in a system infection. Malware download/installation chains are initiated when malicious files or links are opened.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?
Whether your device was infected might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – the system was compromised. However, you may have avoided triggering an infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, .one, etc.). These formats might require additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking on embedded content, etc.) to start downloading/installing malware.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate most of the known malware infections. It must be stressed that performing a complete system scan is essential since sophisticated malicious software usually hides deep within systems.
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