Avoid losing your email account via fake "IMAP Termination Process" emails

Also Known As: "IMAP Termination Process" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "IMAP Termination Process"?

After reviewing the "IMAP Termination Process" email, we determined that it is spam. It states that the recipient's email server has experienced an error that will lead to the account's termination. The goal is to redirect the user to a phishing website that targets email account log-in credentials.

IMAP Termination Process email spam campaign

"IMAP Termination Process" email scam overview

The email with the subject "Emmergency Server Error (ACTION REQUIRED)!!" (may vary) informs the recipient that their account requires immediate action. An error has occurred on the server, and the email IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) will be terminated after 48 hours. If the mailbox is in active use, the recipient is instructed to click the "STILL IN USE" button.

It must be emphasized that all the information provided by this email is false, and this mail is not associated with any legitimate service providers or other entities.

At the time of research, the email promoted a nonfunctional webpage. Based on our experience, we can infer that it was supposed to lead to a phishing website. It was likely disguised as an email account sign-in page and recorded entered passwords. Note that this scam mail could redirect to an operational phishing site in potential future campaigns.

In addition to stealing exposed emails, cyber criminals might also hijack the accounts and platforms registered through them.

For example, scammers can steal the identities of social account owners (e.g., emails, social networking, messengers, etc.) and ask the contacts/friends/followers for loans or donations, promote scams, and spread malware by sharing malicious files/links.

Furthermore, any sensitive/confidential content discovered on hijacked data storage or similar platforms could be used for blackmail or other nefarious purposes. What is more, stolen finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, cryptowallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.

To summarize, by trusting an email like "IMAP Termination Process" – users may experience serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and contact their official support without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "IMAP Termination Process" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient's email IMAP will be terminated unless immediate action is taken.
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

We have examined thousands of spam emails; "Server Warning", "INTERNATIONALE SPANISCHE ONLINE-LOTTERIE", "Aknowledged Response", and "Funds For Transfer" are just some of our newest finds that promote phishing scams.

Deceptive emails are used to facilitate various scams and even to proliferate malware. This mail is infamous for being riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, but it may also be competently disguised as messages from genuine service providers, companies, corporations, organizations, institutions, authorities, and other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails/messages promote malicious files in the form of attachments or download links. These files can be archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), JavaScript, and so on. The malware download/installation chain is triggered when an infectious file is opened.

However, some formats might require additional user interaction to initiate system inspection processes. To elaborate, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents require them to click on embedded files/links.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages must be treated with caution. We advise against opening attachments or links found in dubious/irrelevant mail, as they can be malicious. We recommend using post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since their "Protected View" mode prevents automatic macro command execution.

However, malware is not spread exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we also advise being vigilant while browsing, as fraudulent and dangerous online content usually appears ordinary and harmless.

Furthermore, all downloads must be performed from official and trustworthy sources. Another recommendation is to activate and update software by using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters may contain malware.

It is crucial to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. 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 "IMAP Termination Process" spam email letter:

Subject: Emmergency Server Error (ACTION REQUIRED)!!

Notification From ********


Dear  ******** ,


Server emmergency error has occured and requires your immediate action on your email before IMAP tarmination process begin in 48hours !!



Sent: 10/30/2023 13:30:34 p.m..

Your mailbox server hosting has crashed and all date will be taminated if no action is taken in the mailbox, Please click STILL IN USE to confirm that this mabox account ******** is still in use. If not kindly ignore this Notification and account will be tarminated during imap server authentication within 48Hours


©  2023 ******** Webmail Support

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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. Cyber criminals send out this mail in large-scale operations – therefore, thousands of users receive identical messages.

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

In case you have disclosed your account credentials – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you've provided other private data (e.g., ID card details, passport photos/scans, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.

I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked; merely reading an email will not trigger any infection processes.

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

Whether the system was compromised might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes. However, you might have avoided the infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, .one, etc.). These formats can need extra actions to initiate malware download/installation processes (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded files/links, etc.).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to scan systems and eliminate all manner of threats. It can remove practically all known malware infections. Keep in mind that performing a full system scan is essential since sophisticated malicious programs typically hide deep within systems.

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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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