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'Complaint Has Been Received' Pretrial Notice Malware Email


Email purporting to be a "pretrial notice" from a court secretary claims that the recipient's complaint has been received and urges him or her to follow a link to check and confirm the complaint.

Facebook phising
© maxkabakov

Brief Analysis

The email is not from any court and the link does not open a complaint document as claimed. In fact, the link leads to a compromised website that harbours malware. This is just one in a series of court related malware emails that have been hitting inboxes. If this bogus email comes your way, do not click on any links or open any attachments that it contains.


Subject: Acknowledgement letter

Pretrial notice

Hereby we confirm that your complaint has been received together with enclosures dated January 30, 2014.

The complaint will be reviewed in court in the nearest possible time based on the documents and information you have previously provided. You do not have to be present at trial in person if the Court does not suggest

Please use this link to check your complaint once again and confirm it. If we do not get your confirmation the claim will be cancelled.

You will be further notified without delay of any judgement delivered in regard to your complaint.


Court secretary

Complaint Received Court Malware

Detailed Analysis

According to this email, which purports to be a "pretrial notice" from a court secretary, the recipient's complaint has been received. The message advises the recipient that he or she must check and confirm the supposed complaint by clicking a link.

However, the email is not from any court and the claim that a complaint has been lodged is just a ruse used to trick people into following the link. The message is designed to panic recipients into clicking a link in the mistaken belief that they have somehow become involved in a court proceeding they know nothing about.

Clicking the link opens a compromised website that attempts to trick visitors into downloading a .zip file. Users may believe that the supposed court documents are inside the .zip. However, the .zip in fact harbours a malicious .exe file.

If victims take the further step of opening the .exe file, malware may be installed on their computer. This malware may join the infected computer to a botnet as well as download and install other malicious files.

This message is just one in a recent series of court related malware emails. Another version purports to be an official "Notice to Appear in Court" message and urges recipients to open an attached file for details.  Yet another variant that also pretends to be from an official court officer claims that the recipient has been evicted and should open an attachment to view more information about the eviction. In both cases, the email attachments contain malware.

More court themed malware emails may well follow. Be wary of any unsolicited email that purports to be an official court notification and urges you to click a link or open an attachment to obtain further details. Genuine court officials are unlikely to make contact with interested parties in such a way. If you receive one of these fake court notification emails, do not open any attachments or click any links that it may contain.

Last updated: February 4, 2014
First published: February 4, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
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