How to spot deceptive emails like "Release All Of Your Held Messages"

Also Known As: Release All Of Your Held Messages phishing campaign
Damage level: Medium

What is "Release All Of Your Held Messages"?

After careful analysis, our team has determined that the objective of this email is to deceive recipients into disclosing their personal information. These emails are classified as phishing attempts, where the senders, who are fraudulent actors, seek to trick recipients into sharing sensitive information on fraudulent websites.

Release All Of Your Held Messages email spam campaign

More about the "Release All Of Your Held Messages" scam email

In the phishing email, the sender poses as a support team. The email claims to be about an undelivered mail report and asks the recipient to release held messages, manage future emails from senders, or handle messages individually. It includes a "Release All Now" button and encourages the recipient to use the review tab to release held messages immediately.

The intention of this phishing email is to trick the recipient into taking actions that could compromise personal information. Clicking the "Release All Now" button opens a fake login page where the visitor is requested to enter an email address and password to fix the issue.

Scammers can use stolen login credentials to impersonate victims online, potentially gaining access to sensitive accounts and personal information. This can result in identity theft, where scammers misuse their identity for fraudulent activities.

If the compromised credentials are linked to financial accounts, such as online banking or credit card accounts, attackers can make unauthorized transactions or steal funds, causing significant financial losses.

Stolen login credentials can grant attackers access to email, social media, or work-related accounts, allowing them to send malicious messages or access confidential information, potentially leading to data breaches, computer infections, and other issues. Also, stolen information can be sold to third parties.

Threat Summary:
Name Release All Of Your Held Messages Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Emails cannot be delivered
Related Domain activetefix[.]com
Detection Names Criminal IP (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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 are deceptive messages cybercriminals send to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials, personal details, or financial data. These emails often impersonate trusted entities, such as banks, government agencies, or well-known companies, to gain victims' trust.

They typically contain urgent or alarming messages, encouraging recipients to click on malicious links, download attachments, or provide confidential information. Such emails are a common tactic used for identity theft, fraud, and malware distribution, emphasizing the importance of vigilance and caution when handling unsolicited or suspicious emails.

Examples of similar emails are "You Have New Held Messages", "Your Mail Version Is Currently Being Disconnected", and "View And Upload Required Documents".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Users can infect their computers through malicious emails by inadvertently interacting with email attachments or links. Phishing emails often contain attachments like infected PDF documents, Microsoft Office files (e.g., Word or Excel), JavaScript files, executable files (e.g., .exe), or archive files (e.g., ZIP or RAR).

When users open these attachments or click on embedded links, they may unknowingly trigger the download or execution of malware, such as ransomware or trojans, leading to a compromised computer. Cybercriminals often use social engineering tactics in emails to persuade users to take these harmful actions, making it essential to exercise caution when handling unsolicited or suspicious emails.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Be cautious with emails from unknown or dubious addresses, especially if they contain unexpected attachments or links. Download software and files only from reputable and official sources. Avoid untrustworthy websites, unofficial app stores, and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, which are often breeding grounds for malware.

Install reputable antivirus or anti-malware software to protect against threats. Regularly update your operating system, software, and antivirus program. Be cautious when clicking on ads, pop-ups, or links from unknown or suspicious websites.

If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Release All Of Your Held Messages" email letter:

Subject: Undelivered Mails Report !

Dear - ,

You can release all of your held messages and permit or block future emails from the senders, or manage messages individually.  

Helpdesk on - detected multiple mail delivery failure on - mailbox.

Release All Now

Note:  Kindly use the review tab above to release all held messages immediately.

Support Team

Phishing website promoted via this email:

Release all of your held messages 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?

While these emails may appear authentic, they usually lack personalization. Cybercriminals often employ a broad approach, attempting to deceive a diverse range of recipients and unlawfully obtain their personal information.

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

If you have unintentionally shared your personal information in a deceptive email, it is crucial to act promptly. Respond swiftly by changing all relevant passwords, closely monitoring your accounts for unusual activity, and considering the option of informing the appropriate authorities or institutions about the potential security breach.

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

If you have opened a malicious email attachment, there is a possibility that your computer may be compromised. Specific file types, like .exe files, carry a higher risk. However, with file types such as MS Office documents, infections typically occur when additional actions (such as enabling macros commands) are performed.

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

Merely opening an email is a harmless action with no inherent threat. The risk arises when clicking links within the email or opening attached files.

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

Combo Cleaner will thoroughly examine your computer and efficiently remove malware. It can detect most known malware. Performing a comprehensive system scan is essential to thoroughly remove advanced malware, as such threats tend to hide deeply within the system.

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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.

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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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