We see lots of phishing attempts for email credentials. The email for this one is nothing very special or unusual. It pretends to be a message from the Mail Administrator saying your account is scheduled for de-activation and you should log in & cancel the de-activation if you didn’t request it
They use email addresses and subjects that will entice a user to read the email and open the attachment.
Remember many email clients, especially on a mobile phone or tablet, only show the Name in the From: and not the bit in <domain.com >. That is why these scams and phishes work so well.
This scam is being hosted on a free hosting service. Anything free is always open to easy abuse because it doesn’t cost the phishers and scammers anything except a bit of time to set up. Hopefully the abuse report(s) will be acted on quickly. They are using 3 separate free accounts to perform individual parts of the phish.
mailadmin.com has not been hacked or had their email or other servers compromised. They are not sending the emails to you. They are just innocent victims in exactly the same way as every recipient of these emails. The emails are actually coming from what looks like an open relay on what is likely to be a compromised account hosted by Digital Ocean (relay.lostinthecloud.co.za). The main domain lostinthecloud.co.za is behind Cloudflare, so it is possible that somebody, either at registrar level or more probably with access to Cloudflare DNS setup ( via compromised credentials most likely) has created a subdomain to use in this criminal action.
The email looks like:
From: Admin <email@example.com>
Date: Fri 01/09/2017 01:45
Subject: Account Deactivation Alert
We received a request to terminate your Email account and the process has started, kindly give us six hours to complete your request. If you did not make this request Please Click Here to Cancel Deactivation Request.
WARNING!!: Your Email access will be terminated after deactivation If you received this message in your SPAM/BULK folder that is because of the restrictions implemented by your Internet Service Provider we urge you to treat it genuinely and kindly move it to your inbox for easy access.
Thank you. Mail Administrator
If you follow the link in the email http://firstname.lastname@example.org ( I altered the recipient’s email address) which redirects to the site shown http://activaccount.5gbfree.com/ac/index.php
After you input your password, you get told processing but this is also a different account http://gpower.5gbfree.com/ac/loader.htm
After a few seconds you then get a success message saying that the de-activation has been cancelled, actually on the same account for a change.
Press OK then you get redirected to the genuine Google.com site
|188.8.131.52||relay.lostinthecloud.co.za||London||England||GB||AS202109 Digital Ocean, Inc.|
Received: from relay.lostinthecloud.co.za ([184.108.40.206]:55114)
by knight.knighthosting.co.uk with esmtp (Exim 4.89)
for [redacted]; Fri, 01 Sep 2017 05:32:21 +0100
Received: from [192.168.43.185] (unknown [220.127.116.11])
by relay.lostinthecloud.co.za (Postfix) with ESMTP id CCF654273D
for <[redacted]>; Fri, 1 Sep 2017 06:26:11 +0200 (SAST)
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=”===============1914713089==”
Subject: Account Deactivation Alert
To: [redacted] From: “Admin” <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2017 17:45:18 -0700
We all get very blasé about phishing and think we know so much that we will never fall for a phishing attempt. Don’t assume that all attempts are obvious. Watch for any site that invites you to enter ANY personal or financial information. It might be an email that says “you have won a prize” or “sign up to this website for discounts, prizes and special offers”
Please read our How to protect yourselves page for simple, sensible advice on how to avoid being infected by this sort of socially engineered malware.
All of these emails use Social engineering tricks to persuade you to open the attachments that come with the email. Whether it is a message saying “look at this picture of me I took last night” and it appears to come from a friend or is more targeted at somebody who regularly is likely to receive PDF attachments or Word .doc attachments or any other common file that you use every day. Or whether it is a straight forward attempt, like this one, to steal your personal, bank, credit card or email and social networking log in details. Be very careful when unzipping them and make sure you have “show known file extensions enabled“, And then look carefully at the unzipped file. If it says .EXE then it is a problem and should not be run or opened.