Avoid losing your account via fake "Virus Activities Were Detected" email

Also Known As: "Virus Activities Were Detected" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Virus Activities Were Detected"?

Upon examining the "Virus Activities Were Detected" email, we determined it is spam. This mail makes false claims regarding virus-related activity detected on the recipient's account. The goal is to deceive victims into providing their email log-in credentials to a phishing site.

Virus Activities Were Detected email spam campaign

"Virus Activities Were Detected" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "Virus Activities Detected On Your Mail Box ([recipient's_email_address])" (may vary) states that virulent activity was detected on the recipient's mail account. This fake letter urges to scan the account and eliminate all threats free of charge by following the provided link.

The recipient is alerted that the link will only be valid for 24 hours. If the deadline is missed, the account will be deleted without warning to secure the mail server from further attack.

As mentioned in the introduction, the information in this spam letter is false, and this mail is not associated with any genuine service providers.

Once a user presses "Secure My Email Now!", they are redirected to a phishing website that imitates an email sign-in page. Log-in credentials (i.e., email passwords) entered into this webpage are recorded and sent to scammers. Emails can contain incredibly sensitive information, but they are also used to register other accounts and platforms. Hence, through a hijacked mail account – cyber criminals may gain control over the connected content.

To expand upon how this unauthorized access can be abused, scammers may steal the identities of account owners (e.g., emails, social networking/media, messengers, etc.) and request loans or donations from contacts/friends/followers, endorse scams, and spread malware by sharing malicious files/links.

Furthermore, stolen finance-related accounts (e.g., e-commerce, digital wallets, online money transferring, banking, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and online purchases.

To summarize, by trusting an email like "Virus Activities Were Detected" – users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have already typed your account credentials into a phishing website – immediately change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and contact their official support.

Threat Summary:
Name "Virus Activities Were Detected" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Virulent activity has been detected on the recipient's email account.
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

"Foreign Compensation Commission", "Invoice Request", "Switch To New Server", "Agreement Update", and "Quote For The Attached Products" are merely some of our latest articles on phishing campaigns. These emails primarily target log-in credentials of various accounts, personally identifiable information, and finance-related data.

However, spam mail is used to promote a wide variety of scams and even to distribute malware. Deceptive emails can be full of errors or be competently crafted and believably disguised as messages from legitimate entities (e.g., service providers, companies, organizations, authorities, etc.).

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cyber criminals commonly use spam campaigns to proliferate malware. The emails and messages can include malicious files as attachments or download links. These files can be documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

Once such a file is opened – the infection process is triggered. Some formats do require additional user interaction to jumpstart malware download/installation chains. For example, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents require them to click embedded links or files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We highly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages. Do not open attachments or links found in dubious/irrelevant mail, as they can be harmful or infectious.

It must be mentioned that malware is not proliferated exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, be vigilant when browsing since fake and malicious online content typically appears genuine and innocuous.

Additionally, download only from official and trustworthy channels. Activate and update programs using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updates may contain malware.

It is paramount for device and user safety to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security software must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected threats. 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 "Virus Activities Were Detected" spam email letter:

Subject: Virus Activities Detected On Your Mail Box (********)


Virus activities were detected in your ******** today.
For your account security, click the link below to scan your email and delete all threats for free.

Secure My Email Now!

Please note that this link is valid for 24hrs, and if you fail to secure your email, your account will be deleted without further warning to protect our server from further attack.

Source: Email Security Team For ******** 2024

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Virus Activities Were Detected" spam campaign:

Virus Activities Were Detected scam email promoted phishing site

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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, even if they include details relevant to the recipients. Cyber criminals send this mail in massive operations – hence, thousands of users receive identical (or incredibly similar) emails.

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

If you have disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly compromised accounts and inform their official support. However, if the provided information was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, credit/debit card numbers, etc.) – contact the appropriate authorities without delay.

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; merely reading an email poses no infection threat.

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

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

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate most of the known malware infections. Remember that performing a complete system scam is paramount since sophisticated malicious programs usually 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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