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Email Threat Alert

September 17, 2019

Cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly common and with high profile attacks, they are being reported widely in the mainstream media. One of the most common methods of cybercriminals attacking businesses is through the use of email borne threats.

Over the past few days we have seen a number of email threats, appearing to follow the same format and they could pose a great risk to many businesses and individuals.


What is happening?

The victim receives an email from a webmail account, unlikely to have been known to the victim before. Within the subject line of the email is a username and password combination belonging to the victim.

This information is likely to have been obtained by the cybercriminal following a breach of a cloud platform, such as the LinkedIn breach of 2012.

Attached to the email is an encrypted PDF file. This PDF is named with the victim’s password.

The PDF file will contain some form of threat – which could be anything from social engineering, through to malware and ransomware.


Why is this scam dangerous?

There are two main reasons why this scam is dangerous.

Firstly, the email contains genuine username and password information of the victim, designed to catch their interest and entice them into opening the PDF file.

Secondly, the PDF is encrypted to stop it from being scanned by anti-virus engines, helping it to break through some basic cyber security measures.


What should I do if I receive one of these emails?

If you receive any form of suspicious email, including one similar to this, you should follow these steps:

  • Report the email to your IT team or email security vendor
  • DO NOT open any attachment on a suspicious email, or click any links
  • Delete the email
  • Change any passwords that may have been compromised immediately

It is important that cyber security is taken seriously. There are a number of different methods that can be used to provide protection for your business, from password management through to email security solutions, network monitoring and cyber awareness training. For advice on how you can improve the security of your business, please contact us.

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