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'Rent Arrears Warning' Malware Email


Email purporting to be a 'Customer Reminder' from a landlord claims that the recipient must pay £2000 in rent arrears within ten working days or face court proceedings. The message claims that recipients can click a link to get more information.

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© panama555

Brief Analysis

The email is bogus and is not from any landlord. The message is designed to panic recipients into clicking the link and downloading a .zip file. The .zip contains a .exe file that, if opened, can install malware on the user's computer.


Subject: Customer Reminder
From: Landowner
To Tenant

Dear Madam or Sir!

This is a 10 (ten) days' warning about your rent arrears. Your rent is behind by two thousand pounds and it's a breach of the Residential Tenancies Act and the Tenancy Agreement between us.

We insist that you pay #2000 (two thousand pounds) within next 10 (ten) working days. We request that the outstanding balance be paid in full in the next 10 (ten) days; otherwise we will apply to the court for you to pay all the rent owed and to end your tenancy.
To find out more details on your rent record click here: [Link Removed]


Detailed Analysis

This rather threatening email presents itself as a ten day warning about rent owed to a landlord. The email claims that the recipient must pay £2000 in rent arrears within ten days or the tenancy will be ended and court action will be taken to recover the money owed.

The message includes a direct link to a .zip file hosted on a website. Users are advised to click the link to find out more details and see their rent record.

However, the message is certainly not an official demand notice and it is not from any landlord. Instead, it is just one more variant in a series of court related malware emails that have targeted users all around the world in recent weeks.

The criminals behind the scheme hope that at least a few recipients will be momentarily panicked or angered by the message and click the link without due caution.  If these users then proceed to unzip the downloaded file and run the .exe file it contains, they may install malware in their computers.

Typically, such malware may join the compromised computer to a botnet, and download and install further malware.

A similar version claims that the recipients have been evicted and must leave by a specified date or face court proceedings. Another variant claims that the court has received a complaint by the recipient. And yet another purports to be an official "Notice to Appear in Court". All versions try to trick recipients into installing malware by opening an attached file or clicking a link.

More versions are likely to follow. If you receive one of the court related malware email, do not click on any links or open any attachments that it contains.

Last updated: February 7, 2014
First published: February 7, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
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