Do not trust fake "Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication" messages

Also Known As: "Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication"?

Our inspection of "Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication" revealed that it is a phishing scam. This spam mail claims that the recipient's email account needs to be authenticated. The goal is to deceive recipients into disclosing their log-in credentials.

Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication email spam campaign

"Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication" email scam overview

The email with the subject "[recipient's_email_address] requires a mandatory authentication within the next 24 hours" (may vary) informs the recipient that their account must be authenticated. It is mandatory and must be completed within 24 hours. Due to an error on the service provider's system, several messages have failed to reach the recipient's inbox. The letter warns that the recipient will be automatically logged out of their email account if it is not authenticated.

It must be emphasized that these claims are false, and this mail is in no way associated with any legitimate service providers or other entities.

At the time of research, the website promoted by this spam letter was nonfunctional. Our experience allows us to infer that it was likely a phishing site disguised as an email account sign-in page. It is worth mentioning that this could be rectified in potential future releases of this spam campaign (i.e., emails would redirect to a functional webpage).

Phishing sites are designed to record entered information (e.g., passwords, etc.) and send it to scammers. Emails are of particular interest to cyber criminals, as these accounts are typically used to register other content. Hence, through a stolen email – access might be gained to connected accounts or platforms.

To elaborate on the potential misuse, 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 or donations, promote scams, and even spread malware by sharing malicious files/links.

Furthermore, hijacked finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, e-commerce, cryptowallets, etc.) can be used to make unauthorized transactions and online purchases.

To summarize, victims of scam mail like "Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication" can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have already provided your log-in credentials – immediately change the passwords of all possibly compromised accounts and inform their official support.

Threat Summary:
Name "Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient's email account must be authenticated within 24 hours.
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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Phishing spam campaign examples

"JPMorgan Chase Online Security Department", "Switch To New Version", "Microsoft Ending Promotion Award", and "Cloud Voicemail" are just some examples of phishing emails we have examined recently. They primarily target account log-in credentials, personally identifiable details (e.g., names, addresses, contact info, etc.), and credit card numbers.

Other types of scams are promoted through spam mail as well, and it is used to proliferate malware. These emails/messages can be plain and riddled with errors or elaborately disguised as notifications/missives from genuine service providers, companies, institutions, authorities, or other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns are commonly used in malware distribution. These emails/messages can have malicious files attached to or linked inside them. Virulent files can be documents (e.g., Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

When a malicious file is opened – the infection chain is triggered. However, some formats may require extra actions to jumpstart infection processes. For example, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents require them to click on embedded files or links.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails and other messages. Attachments or links present in dubious mail must not be opened, as they can be malicious. It is important to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.

Note that malware is not distributed only through spam mail. Therefore, we also advise downloading only from official and verified channels. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third-party updaters can contain malware.

Another recommendation is to be vigilant while browsing since fraudulent and dangerous online content usually appears genuine and innocuous.

We must stress the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated. This software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected 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 "Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication" spam email letter:

Subject: ******** requires a mandatory authentication within the next 24 hours

Mailbox Username: ********

Auto Validation Date:
9/27/2023 7:30:23 a.m.

Your email ******** requires a mandatory authentication within the next 24 hours.

You have several pending messages due to a 404 error within our system.

The system will log you out automatically if you fail to complete this process within the next 24 hours from 9/27/2023 7:30:23 a.m. 4:04:50 a.m.
Use the button below to complete the authentication process.

Authenticate Now


Encrypted Message by ******** Web Support Team

Copyright© 2023 cPanel, L.L.C.
Privacy Policy.

Another example of an email from "Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication" spam campaign:

Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication scam (2024-03-01)

Text presented within:

Subject: Email Separation Warning #0865


Mailbox Username: ********
Auto Validation Date: 02/16/2024

Your email ******** requires a mandatory authentication within the next 24 hours.

The system will log you out  automatically if you fail to complete this process within the next 24 hours from 02/16/2024 1:43:40 p.m.
Use the button below to complete the authentication process.
Authenticate Now

Encrypted Message by  petrotak.com  Web Support Team

Copyright© 2023 cPanel, L.L.C.
Privacy Policy.

Screenshot of the promoted phishing site designed to imitate user's email provider:

Phishing site promoted via Email Requires A Mandatory Authentication scam (2024-03-01)

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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. They are distributed in mass-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 account credentials – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. However, if the disclosed information was of a different personal nature (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, merely reading an email is harmless. System infection processes are triggered when malicious attachments 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. However, you might have avoided this if it was a document (.doc, .pdf, .xls, .one, etc.). These formats may need additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.) to jumpstart malware download/installation chains.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to scan devices and remove threats. It can detect and eliminate practically all known malware infections. It must be mentioned that since high-end malicious software usually hides deep within systems – performing a complete 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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About PCrisk

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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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