How to spot scams like "Aknowledged Response" email scam

Also Known As: Aknowledged Response phishing campaign
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Aknowledged Response"?

This email has been identified as a fraudulent message impersonating an email service provider. The scammers orchestrating this scheme aim to deceive recipients into divulging their personal information. Such emails fall into the category of phishing emails and should be avoided at all costs, with no response or engagement whatsoever.

Aknowledged Response email spam campaign

More about the "Aknowledged Response" scam email

The phishing letter arrives with the subject line "Re-Authentication Required", attempting to create a sense of urgency and concern. It claims to be a secure message from a particular automated alert system. It falsely informs the recipient that 15 pending incoming emails are stuck on the mailing server due to a server error.

In order to resolve this issue, the recipient is instructed to use a provided portal link for re-authentication. The email is signed as coming from a "SUPPORT ADMIN" but warns against replying, emphasizing that it is an automated email meant exclusively for users of a specific service.

This phishing letter is a classic example of a scam, attempting to trick recipients into clicking on the provided link and divulging their personal information, such as login credentials, in the process. Clicking the "Re-authenticate mailbox" button in this email opens a fake login website asking to provide an email address and password.

Scammers can misuse stolen login credentials to gain unauthorized access to the victim's email accounts, enabling them to monitor communications, steal sensitive information, or impersonate the victim in phishing attacks.

Additionally, scammers often attempt to exploit password reuse across multiple accounts, trying the stolen credentials on various websites and services to gain access to other accounts belonging to the same individual.

Furthermore, these stolen credentials can be sold on the dark web, creating a thriving black market for personal data that can be used for identity theft, fraudulent activities, or even further cybercrimes.

Threat Summary:
Name Aknowledged Response Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Email account re-authentication is required
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

These deceptive messages typically appear as legitimate communications from trusted entities, aiming to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information such as login credentials, financial details, or personal data. These emails often employ social engineering tactics, exploiting fear, urgency, or curiosity to persuade recipients to click on malicious links, download harmful attachments, or enter their confidential information on fake websites.

These emails can have dire consequences, including identity theft, financial losses, and compromised personal security, making it essential for individuals to remain vigilant and exercise caution when encountering unsolicited or suspicious email messages.

Examples of phishing campaigns are "American Express Account Confirmation Email Scam", "Adobe Invoice Email Scam", and "Security Information Email Scam".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Users can infect their computers via email by opening email attachments that contain malicious software, often disguised as innocent files or documents. These attachments may carry viruses, ransomware, or other malware that, when executed, can compromise the user's system. Another method is through clicking on links within emails.

Cybercriminals commonly use executable files, JavaScript files, and documents (e.g., PDFs and Office documents) to deliver malware to their targets. These files can be disguised as legitimate content to trick users into unwittingly executing the malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

When it comes to email, it is essential to be cautious, particularly when dealing with messages from unfamiliar or questionable sources. Approach email attachments, links, and files from unverified senders with skepticism and avoid opening them unless their legitimacy is verified.

Keeping your operating system, software, and antivirus programs up-to-date is equally important to address vulnerabilities and bolster your computer's security. Moreover, steer clear of downloading software or files from unofficial or dubious sources, as they may harbor concealed malware.

Furthermore, It is crucial not to place trust in advertisements found on suspicious websites and to refrain from using unofficial tools for software activation. 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 "Aknowledged Response" email letter:

Subject: Re-Authentication Required

This email is marked secure from ******** automated alert.

Aknowledged Response
Hello ****,
You have pending (15) incoming emails stuck on the mailing server.
Due to error occured on our server.
We suggest that you kindly use the portal below to authenticate your session.

Re-authenticate mailbox

Thank you,

******** SUPP0RT ADMIN.

Please do not reply, this is an automated email for ******** users only.

Screenshot of the fake login page used to steal login credentials:

Aknowledged response 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?

Scammers distribute identical letters to numerous recipients in the hope that they will deceive someone among the recipients. These spam emails lack personalization and are mass-sent to a broad audience.

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

If you have fallen victim to a phishing email and provided your login credentials, it is crucial to act swiftly. Immediately change your compromised passwords, enable two-factor authentication if available, and notify the affected service or organization about the incident.

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

If the file in question was an executable, it is highly probable that your computer is already infected. On the other hand, if it was a document, such as a .pdf or .doc file, there is a chance that you may have avoided the infection, as in some scenarios, simply opening the document might not be adequate for malware to infiltrate your system.

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

Merely opening an email is entirely harmless. Users infect computers by clicking links within malicious emails or opening attached files.

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

Indeed, Combo Cleaner can find and remove nearly all known malware infections. Advanced malware often conceals itself deeply within the system. Thus, it is recommended to run a comprehensive system scan for thorough removal.

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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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