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‘You Have Received a 5 Page fax’ Email Contains Malware

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Email claims that you have received a 5 page fax from online fax service eFax and can view the document by opening an attached file.

Brief Analysis

The email is not from eFax and the attachment does not contain a faxed document. Instead, the attached contains a malicious file that, if opened, can install malware on your computer.

Example

Fax MessageYou have received a 5 page fax at Thu, 21 Jan 2016 10:26:57 +0700.* The reference number for this fax is syd1_did14-20160121032657-8544745-16.

View this fax using your PDF reader.

Please visit www.efax.com.au/web-fax-faq if you have any questions regarding this message or your service.

Thank you for choosing eFax!

The eFax® Team

Five Page Fax Malware Email

 

Detailed Analysis

According to this email, which at first glance appears to come from popular online fax service eFax, you have received a five page fax. The email, which features the eFax logo along with a fax reference number and other details, claims that you can view your fax using your PDF reader. The email includes an attached .zip file which supposedly contains the promised fax.

However, the email is not from eFax and the attachment does not contain a fax message.
While reliance on the once-ubiquitous office fax machine has ebbed considerably in recent years, faxes can still be sent and received via online fax services. These services usually send users an email to notify them that a fax has been received.

The criminals bank on the fact that at least a few customers of such services may open the attachment without due caution. And, even people that have never used such a service may open the attachment out of simple curiosity.

Opening the attached .zip file reveals a dangerous executable file that, if clicked, can install malware on Windows-based computers.

The exact nature of the malware payload may vary. Typically, however, once installed, such malware may harvest sensitive information from the infected computer and send it to criminals waiting online. It may also download and install further malware components and allow the criminals to control the infected computer from afar.

Because online fax services do generally notify people of incoming faxes via email, criminals often send emails pretending to be from such services to trick people into installing malware.

If you receive such an email, do not open any attachments or click any links that it contains. Instead, login your online fax service account by entering the account address into your browser’s address bar.  If you really did receive a fax, you should be able to safely access and view it via the service’s website.


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,
Hoax-Slayer