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ATO ' Tax Agent Report' Malware Email

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Email purporting to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) claims to contain a tax agent report for delayed tax returns in an attached file

© woodsy007

Brief Analysis

The email is not from the ATO and the attached file does not contain a tax agent report. The attached .zip file harbours a .exe file that - if opened - can install malware on your computer. If you receive one of these emails, do not open any attachments or click any links that it contains.


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From: Australian Taxation Office
Subject: Tax Agent Report
Please do not respond to this email
Tax agent report for delayed tax returns over 30 days
Please find your weekly report for the period ending 16/01/2015
What you need to do
Refer to the initial notification email with attachment we sent you with instructions on how to interpret your tax agent report.
Yours sincerely
Deputy Commissioner of Taxation
The information transmitted is for the use of the intended recipient only and may contain confidential and/or legally privileged material. Any review, re-transmission, disclosure, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited and may result in severe penalties. If you have received this e-mail in error please notify the Privacy Hotline of the Australian Taxation
Office, and delete all copies of this transmission together with any attachments.


Detailed Analysis

'ATO' Email Claims Tax Agent Report in Attachment

According to this email, which purports to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), you can view a Tax Agent Report by opening an attached file.

Supposedly, the report is concerning delayed tax returns.

Email is Not From The ATO - Attachment Contains Malware

However, the email is certainly not from the ATO, and the attachment does not contain a tax agent report.

If you open the attached .zip file, you will find a .exe file inside. If you then proceed to open .exe file, malware will be installed on your computer.

The exact malware payload may vary. However, often, such malware can harvest personal information such as passwords from your computer and send it to criminals. It may also download further malware and allow the criminals to take control of your computer from afar.

Fake Tax Notice Emails are a Common Scammer Ruse

Be wary of any email claiming to be from your countries' tax agency that asks you to click a link or open an attached file.

This is a very common scammer ruse that has been used repeatedly for both malware campaigns and phishing attacks.

© arturoli

Last updated: January 15, 2015
First published: January 15, 2015
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

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