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Phishing Email Masquerades as ‘Trojan Virus’ Infection Warning



Outline
Email purporting to be from an email service provider claims that the recipient's email has been infected with a Trojan Virus. The message claims that the recipient must click a link to delete the virus and recover the email account.
Virus Detected

© Depositphotos.com/ Jan Miks

Brief Analysis
The email is not from any email service provider. The message is a phishing scam designed to trick people into giving their email account login details to Internet criminals.

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Example

Subject: You have one message Alert
 
Attention E-mail Account Holder,

We were notified that your email has been infected with Trojan Virus, please ensure do not download any unknown program from the e-mail. In order to delete the virus and recover your email, please click on the following link below.

Recover now.

Sorry for the inconvenience,

BT Technical Information’s Department.


Detailed Analysis
According to this email, the recipient's email account has been infected with the dreaded "Trojan Virus".  Technical support staff at the user's email service provider supposedly sent the warning message.  The email advises the user to click a link to delete the virus and restore the email account.

But, alas, the email is certainly not from any email service provider. Instead, it is a rather crude attempt to trick users into divulging their email login details.

People who click the link as instructed will be taken to a bogus website that hosts a fake email account login form. They will be told that they must login to their accounts so that the "Trojan Virus" can be removed and account access restored.

However, the username and password they submit on the fake form will be collected by scammers and can subsequently be used to hijack the real email accounts belonging to the victims.

These hijacked accounts can then be used to launch further spam and scam campaigns.

The example included here claims to come from BT. Virtually identical versions of the scam claim to be from other high profile email providers including Yahoo, Gmail and Microsoft.

Ironically, some similar "warning" emails actually attempt to trick users into visiting a website and downloading trojans.

Be wary of any email that claims that you must follow a link or open an attachment to fix a virus issue, rectify a problem with your email account or update account details. This is a very common phishing ploy.

Always login to your webmail account by entering the address into your browser's address bar rather than by clicking a link in an unsolicited email.

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Last updated:August 22, 2013
First published: August 22, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen

References


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