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USPS Malware Emails

Email purporting to be from the United States Postal Service (USPS) claims that a parcel could not be delivered due to an address error and instructs recipients to click a link to print out a shipping label.

USPS Parcel Malware Email

© Elwell

Brief Analysis
The email is not from USPS. The claim that USPS failed to deliver a parcel to the recipient due to an incorrect address is untrue. Clicking on the "shipping label" link in the email will download a malicious file to the user's computer.

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USPS Malware Emails

Subject: Problem with the delivery of parcel



Your package has arrived on August 16th, but the messenger was
unable to deliver the package to you. For more detailed information,
please, Print and Read the Shipping Label.

USPS Malware Email 2013

Subject: USPS delivery problem # Error ID60347

USPS Malware email

Text of malware email:

Unfortunately, we failed to deliver the postal package you have sent on (date varies) in time, because the recipient's address is erroneous.

Print a Shipping Label

If the parcel isn't received within 30 working days our company will have the right to claim compensation from you for each day of keeping.

Detailed Analysis

This email, which purports to be from the United States Postal Service (USPS), claims that a package sent by the recipient was not delivered because the postal address was incorrect. The message instructs the recipient to click a button to print off a shipping label and then take the label to the nearest USPS office so that the error can be rectified.

However, the message is not from USPS. The claim that a package delivery has failed is untrue. The message is an attempt by online criminals to trick users into downloading and installing an information stealing trojan. The link in the scam email points to a compromised website that will automatically download the malicious payload to the victim's computer. If the victim then proceeds to run the downloaded .exe file, a trojan will be installed. Typically, once installed, these trojans can steal sensitive personal information from the infected computer, make connections with remote servers operated by online criminals and download further malware components.

To increase the illusion of legitimacy, the email comes complete with a USPS logo and supposed delivery bar code and shipping numbers. The entire malware message is delivered as a clickable image file which means that clicking anywhere in the email will take the user to the malware website.

The "parcel delivery" tactic has been used repeatedly by malware scammers. USPS has been targeted in very similar attacks over recent years as have UPS, FedEx, DHL, Royal Mail and other postal and delivery organizations around the world.

Beware of any unsolicited email that claims that you must click a link or open an attachment to print a shipping label, correct a parcel addressing error or find out more information about a supposed parcel delivery.

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Last updated: August 23, 2013
First published: November 5, 2012
By Brett M. Christensen
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