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Microsoft 'Reactivate Your Email Account' Phishing Scam


Outline

mail purporting to be from Microsoft claims that recipients must click a link to complete a 'one time automatic verification' in order to avoid having their email account suspended.

Facebook phising
© Depositphotos.com/ alexmillos

Brief Analysis

The email is not from Microsoft. It is a crude phishing scam designed to trick recipients into giving their email address and password to online criminals. The criminals will use the stolen data to hijack the compromised email accounts and use them to send further spam and scam messages in the names of their victims.

Scroll down to read a detailed analysis with references.


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Example

Subject: REACTIVATE YOUR EMAIL ACCOUNT!!!

Attention;

In compliance with the email upgrade instructions from
Microsoft Corporation and WWW email domain host, all unverified email accounts would be suspended for verification.

To avoid suspension of your email account and also to retain all email Contents, please perform one time automatic verification by completing the online verification form.

Please CLICK HERE

for the online verification form.
As a confirmation of complete and successful verification, you shall be automatically be redirected to your email web page.
Please move this message to your inbox, if found in bulk folder. Please do this for all your email accounts.

Thank you.
WWW. mail Support Team.

© 2014 Microsoft Corporation.

Microsoft Reactive Email Scam


Detailed Analysis

According to this email, which purports to be from Microsoft, the recipient must complete a verification of his or her email account by clicking a link in the message. The message warns that all unverified email accounts will face suspension and the loss of all 'email contents' in the accounts.

Users are instructed to upgrade their email and avoid suspension by clicking a link and performing a 'one time automatic verification'.

However, the email is not from Microsoft. It is a phishing scam designed to trick recipients into giving their email address and password to Internet criminals. Clicking the link in the fake email takes users to an equally fake site that asks for their email address, email password and date of birth.

After supplying this information, users are automatically redirected away from the scam website. Meanwhile, the scammers can use the data that they have stolen to access the compromised email accounts and use them to launch further spam and scam campaigns. Since the scam emails are sent via the hijacked accounts of victims, the emails cannot be traced back to the criminals responsible.

Hijacked email accounts are a valuable commodity for online criminals so scam emails that phish for email account passwords are very common. Some are a lot more sophisticated than the version I discuss here and claim to originate from high-profile providers such as Gmail and Yahoo. Some versions carry the phishing form in an attached file. Others simply ask users to reply with their email account details.

No legitimate email provider is likely to send an unsolicited email asking customers to provide their email password by clicking a link, opening an attachment or replying. Be very wary of any email that makes such a request.



Last updated: February 13, 2014
First published: February 13, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information
Gmail 'Update Account' Phishing Scam
BT Yahoo! Mail 'Classic Version Closing' Phishing Scam






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