Avoid having your email account stolen via fake "Document Received" emails
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What kind of email is "Document Received"?
Our inspection of the "Document Received" email revealed that it is spam. This fake letter is presented as a notification regarding a document sent to the recipient via Microsoft SharePoint. This spam promotes a phishing website disguised as SharePoint, which targets email account log-in credentials.
It must be emphasized that this mail is in no way associated with the actual Microsoft Corporation or any other legitimate entities.
"Document Received" email scam overview
The spam email is disguised as a notification concerning a document sent through Microsoft SharePoint. The nonexistent file – "New_Order.pdf" – can be accessed by clicking the button presented in the letter.
As mentioned in the introduction, the "Document Received" email is fake, and it is not associated with Microsoft or any other real entities.
When we visited the promoted phishing site, it masqueraded as SharePoint. The pop-up on the webpage stated that the shared files are sensitive. The visitor was instructed to provide their email log-in credentials, which would allegedly be used to verify them in order to access the documents.
Phishing websites record entered information and send it to their designers. Hence, log-in credentials (i.e., email address and corresponding password) provided to the promoted webpage will be disclosed to the scammers behind the spam campaign. In addition to stealing the exposed emails, cyber criminals may also hijack the content registered through them.
To expand upon this, scammers can steal the identities of social account owners (e.g., emails, social networking, social media, messengers, etc.) and ask the contacts/friends/followers for loans, promote scams, and proliferate malware by sharing malicious links/files.
Furthermore, stolen finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and online purchases.
To summarize, by trusting an email like "Document Received" – users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
If you have already entered your account credentials into a phishing website – immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and contact their official support.
|Name||"Document Received" phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Recipient has been sent a document.|
|Detection Names (maildata-updates[.]ink)||CRDF (Malicious), CyRadar (Malicious), ESET (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), Seclookup (Malicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (maildata-updates[.]ink)||184.108.40.206|
|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
"Multiple Unsuccessful Login Attempts", "Impossibility Of Your Transferring Your Funds", "Anthem Encrypted Message", and "Review Pending Messages" are just a few examples of phishing emails we have investigated recently.
This mail can wear a wide variety of disguises, including as messages from legitimate companies, service providers, organizations, authorities, and others. Spam is used to promote various scams and even to distribute malware.
Due to how prevalent and well-made this mail can be, we strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
When a virulent file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection process is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office files infect devices by executing malicious macro commands, while infectious OneNote documents require users to click on embedded files/links.
How to avoid installation of malware?
It is essential to approach incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages with care. We advise against opening attachments or links present in suspect/irrelevant mail, as they can be virulent.
Another recommendation is to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.
However, malware is not proliferated only via spam mail. Therefore, we also advise caution while browsing since fraudulent and malicious online content typically appears legitimate and harmless.
Additionally, all downloads must be performed from official and trustworthy sources. It is just as important to activate and update software by using functions/tools provided by genuine developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters can contain malware.
We must emphasize that having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date is paramount to device and 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 "Document Received" spam email letter:
Subject: Document from Sanzi Group : -
Sanzi Group has sent a message regarding the following spreadsheet for the list of items needed:
View - Document
You have received this email because - shared a spreadsheet with you from SharePoint
Screenshot of the fake SharePoint website promoted by this spam campaign:
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 "Document Received" 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?
While potentially including relevant information, spam emails are not personal. Cyber criminals distribute these letters in large-scale campaigns – therefore, 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 – change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you have disclosed other private data (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?
System infection chains are triggered when malicious attachments or links are opened – hence, merely reading an email is not enough to jumpstart these 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 triggering an infection if it was a document (.doc, .pdf, .xls, .one, etc.). These formats may need 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 is designed to detect and remove threats. It is capable of eliminating practically all known malware infections. However, it must be stressed that running a full system scan is essential – since high-end malicious programs usually hide deep within systems.
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