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Home Malware Fake ISP “Spam Mailout” Notifications Contain Locky Ransomware

Fake ISP “Spam Mailout” Notifications Contain Locky Ransomware

by Brett M. Christensen

Email purporting to be from “ISP Support” claims that your ISP has received spam mailouts from your address recently and urges you to open an attached file to view a log of the supposed spam messages.

Brief Analysis:
The email is not a genuine notification from your ISP and the attached .zip file does not contain a log of spam messages as claimed. Instead, the attachment contains a malicious JavaScript file that, if opened, can download and install Locky ransomware on your computer.

Dear [Name Removed]

We’ve been receiving spam mailout from your address recently.

Contents and logging of such messages are in the attachment.
Please look into it and contact us.

Best Regards,
[Random Name]
ISP Support
Tel.: [Removed]

Attached File: logs_[same text as email greeting].zip

Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, which claims to be from support staff at your Internet Service Provider (ISP), your email address has recently been sending spam mailouts. It claims that the contents of these spam emails are contained in an attached log file. It asks that you look into the issue and then contact your ISP.

However, the email is not from your ISP and the attachment does not contain a log of spam emails. If you open the attached .zip, you will find that it contains a JavaScript (.js) file. If you then open the .js file, a malicious JavaScript can download and install Locky ransomware on your computer.

Once installed, Locky can encrypt all of the important files on your computer and then demand that you pay a ransom to online criminals to receive a decryption key. If you do not have adequate recent backups of your files, recovering from a ransomware attack can be very difficult. Many victims have been forced to pay the criminals to retrieve access to their files. However, given that you are dealing with criminals, there is really no guarantee that you will receive the decryption key, even if you do pay up.

The email uses a greeting derived from the first part of  the recipient’s email address, which will often be the recipient’s name.  This tactic may serve to make the malware email appear more legitimate as it may seem that the message is addressing you by name and is thus likely to be  from a company or person that knows you.

The name of the supposed ISP staff member who sent the email also varies.

If you receive one of these emails, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.

Locky Ransomware

Last updated: November 23, 2016
First published: November 23, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

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Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,