How to spot scam campaigns like "Multiple Unsuccessful Login Attempts"

Also Known As: Multiple Unsuccessful Login Attempts phishing scam
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Multiple Unsuccessful Login Attempts"?

Upon careful examination, we have determined that the email in question has been crafted by scammers who impersonate an email service provider with malicious intentions. Their objective is to deceive recipients into divulging sensitive information on a fraudulent page (a phishing site). Consequently, it is strongly advised that recipients disregard this email.

Multiple Unsuccessful Login Attempts email spam campaign

More about the "Multiple Unsuccessful Login Attempts" scam email

The email claims to be notifying the recipient about multiple unsuccessful login attempts to an email account. It urges the recipient to take immediate action to ensure account security. In order to authenticate the account, the recipient is prompted to click on one of the provided links. The email also emphasizes the importance of understanding and cooperation in maintaining security.

It concludes by stating that it is an automated message and advises against replying directly to the email. The email purports to be from "Microsoft Account". However, it should be noted that this email is a phishing attempt aimed at tricking recipients into revealing their sensitive information on a fake login page.

The fake website provided in this email requests to enter email account login credentials (email address and password) to log in. It is designed to closely resemble the authentic login page of the recipient's email service provider. This means that if the recipient uses Yahoo, the phishing page will be crafted to imitate a counterfeit Yahoo login page.

Scammers can misuse stolen email account credentials in several ways. They may gain unauthorized access to the victim's email account, enabling them to read personal emails, access sensitive information, and send malicious messages.

Scammers can also use the stolen credentials to perpetrate identity theft, sending phishing emails to contacts or using the victim's identity for fraud. The compromised email account can also be used as a gateway to hijack other linked online accounts, allowing scammers to manipulate settings, reset passwords, and carry out unauthorized activities.

Threat Summary:
Name Multiple Unsuccessful Login Attempts Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim There have been unsuccessful attempts to log into the recipient's email account
Disguise Letter from an email service provider
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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Similar scam emails in general

Phishing emails typically exhibit several common characteristics. They often employ urgent or fear-inducing language to prompt immediate action from the recipient. The sender's information is often spoofed or disguised to appear as a trusted entity.

These emails frequently contain suspicious URLs that lead to fake websites designed to collect personal information. Additionally, phishing emails commonly request sensitive data, which legitimate organizations rarely ask for via email.

Examples of phishing emails are "Email Access Is Set To Expire", "Anthem Encrypted Message", and "Review Pending Messages". It is important to note that links and files presented in such emails can lead to computer infections.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Users' computers can become infected with malware when they receive emails containing malicious attachments or links. These attachments, such as PDFs, ZIP files, executables, ISO files, or Microsoft Office documents, can carry malware that activates when downloaded and opened.

It is worth noting that certain file types may require additional actions to inject malware. Furthermore, clicking on links within emails can redirect users to compromised websites that initiate the download of malware onto their computers.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To ensure your online safety, exercise caution when dealing with email attachments or links from unknown or suspicious email addresses, especially if you were not anticipating such emails. It is crucial to keep your operating system, software, and plugins up to date with the latest security updates and patches.

Additionally, regularly updating your antivirus software is essential. Furthermore, it is advisable to download programs only from reliable sources and avoid downloading from P2P networks, questionable websites, or third-party downloaders. Lastly, be vigilant regarding ads, pop-ups, and links on untrustworthy websites.

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 "Multiple Unsuccessful Login Attempts" email letter:

Subject: Multiple unsuccessful login attempts

Multiple unsuccessful login attempts
We detected multiple unsuccessful attempts to login     .

For your safety, an additional security step is required to authenticate your account
Click here to validate    
We appreciate your understanding as we work to ensure security
This is an automated message. Please do not reply directly to this e-mail.
Microsoft Account

Screenshot of the phishing page:

Multiple Unsuccessful Login Attempts email scam phishing page

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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?

Criminals send identical letters to numerous recipients, relying on the hope that they will deceive someone. These spam emails are never personalized and lack any individual targeting.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by this email, what should I do?

If you have unintentionally disclosed your account credentials, it is highly advisable to immediately change all of your passwords. Additionally, if you have shared any other personal information, such as credit card details or ID card information, it is crucial to promptly notify the appropriate authorities or institutions to mitigate any potential risks or fraudulent activities.

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

When dealing with an executable file, the chances of infection are significantly high upon opening it. However, in the case of document files like PDF or DOC, the risk of infection may vary, influenced by factors such as the specific type of malware and the security measures implemented on the user's system. In certain instances, merely opening the document might not be sufficient for the malware to infect the system.

I have read the email but did not open the attachment, is my computer infected?

Merely opening an email on its own does not pose a direct threat to your system.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?

While Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating the majority of known malware, it is essential to understand that advanced forms of malware can often conceal themselves deeply within a system. Therefore, a complete system scan is necessary to address hidden malware.

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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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