How to identify scams like "Quarantine Area"

Also Known As: Quarantine Area phishing campaign

What is "Quarantine Area"?

Upon examination, it has been determined that this email is a fraudulent attempt disguised as a notification from an email service provider. The intention behind this scam is to deceive recipients into divulging sensitive information. These deceptive communications fall into the category of phishing emails.

Quarantine Area email scam

More about the "Quarantine Area" scam email

This phishing email claims to be a "Quarantine Report" and says recipients have messages in quarantine. It gives options like clicking "Deliver" to forward a message to your mailbox or "Delete" to remove it from quarantine. There is also a link to delete all messages. Clicking on any of these links leads to a phishing website.

The opened webpage recreates the visual style of a legitimate email account login platform. This deceptive site is created to emulate the format associated with the recipient's email address. For instance, if the recipient employs Gmail, they will encounter a fraudulent page that mirrors the authentic design of the Gmail login site.

Scammers behind this phishing campaign aim to extract email account login credentials (email addresses and passwords) from unsuspecting individuals. Having stolen email login details, scammers engage in various malicious activities.

They infiltrate the victim's email account to extract personal and financial information, like bank statements and additional login credentials. Scammers also leverage compromised accounts to launch phishing attacks on the victim's contacts, tricking them into disclosing sensitive details.

Additionally, obtained email credentials may grant unauthorized access to other online platforms, taking advantage of password reuse across multiple services.

Threat Summary:
Name Quarantine Area Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim One message is quarantined
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 designed to trick recipients into divulging sensitive information. Typically disguised as legitimate communications from trusted entities, these emails contain links or attachments that, when clicked, lead to fraudulent websites or even malware installation.

The ultimate goal is to steal personal information, login credentials, or financial details for malicious purposes, posing a significant threat to online users' privacy and security. Examples of phishing campaigns disseminated via email are "You've Got Mail", "DHL Shipping Invoice", and "ACH-ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cybercriminals often use malicious email attachments, which can include harmful files like executables (.exe), JavaScript files (.js), and documents (.doc, .pdf). When users download and open these attachments, embedded malware can become active.

Additionally, deceptive links within emails may lead to fraudulent websites housing malware. Clicking on such links can trigger the download and injection of malicious software without the user's awareness.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Always choose reputable websites and refrain from clicking on pop-ups or ads on unfamiliar sites. Authenticate the legitimacy of emails before opening links or files (attachments). Acquire software and files exclusively from official pages or reputable stores, avoiding the download of pirated software, cracking tools, or key generators.

Ensure your operating system and software are up to date, including security solutions, and employ trustworthy antivirus or anti-malware software. 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 "Quarantine Area" email letter:

Subject: Quarantine Report: [ 1 messages in quarantine from Thu 30 Nov 2023 08.00.00 +0100 to Thu 30 Nov 2023 10.00.00 +0100 ]

Possible Actions:

Click on the Deliver link to forward the message to your mailbox
Click on the Delete link to delete the message from your quarantine area.
Click here to Delete all messages from your quarantine area.

Other actions:
To review your quarantine area and manage your personal settings, go to
Quarantine Area

Data:    And:    Object:    Actions:
Thu 30.11.2023 10:51:56 +0100    "Accounts" ;     Re: RE: Proforma PI29274    Delivery Cancel

Phishing website using in this spam campaign:

Quarantine area 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?

As a rule, scammers dispatch identical letters to thousands of individuals with the expectation that someone will be deceived by them. These unsolicited emails lack personalization.

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

If you have disclosed your email login details to scammers, take prompt action. Update your password, keep a vigilant eye on your accounts for any unusual activity, and consider notifying your email provider about the security breach.

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

If you have opened an executable file, your computer is probably already infected. In other cases, opening a file (e.g., an MS Office document) is usually insufficient for malware to infiltrate the system unless additional steps are taken.

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

No, simply opening an email poses no threat. The risk emerges when users click links within the email or open attached files.

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

Combo Cleaner has the capability to identify and eradicate nearly all recognized malware infections. Since advanced often conceals itself deep within the system. Therefore, conducting a full system scan is important for detection and 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.

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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