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Home Malware ‘You Have Received a Secure Message’ Malware Emails

‘You Have Received a Secure Message’ Malware Emails

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Email purporting to be from a bank or other financial institution claims that you have received a secure message that you can read by opening an attached file.

Brief Analysis

The email is not from your bank or any other legitimate organization and the attachment does not contain a message, secure or otherwise. In fact, the attached .zip file harbours a malicious file that, if opened, can install malware on the compromised computer. If you receive one of these emails, do not open any attachments or click on any links that it may contain.

Examples

From: Natioanl Australia Bank
Subject: You have received a secure message
You have received a secure message

 

Read your secure message by opening the attachment, SecureMessage.zip. You will be prompted to open (view) the file or save (download) it to your computer. For best results, save the file first, then open it.If you have concerns about the validity of this message, please contact the sender directly. For questions please contact the National Australia Bank Secure Email Help Desk at [Removed].

First time users – will need to register after opening the attachment.

About Email Encryption – [Link Removed]

 

Subject: You have received a secure message
You have received a secure messageRead your secure message by opening the attachment, SecureMessage.zip. You will be prompted to open (view) the file or save (download) it to your computer. For best results, save the file first, then open it.

If you have concerns about the validity of this message, please contact the sender directly. For questions please contact the [ bank name] Secure Email Help Desk a […..].

First time users – will need to register after opening the attachment.

About Email Encryption – [Link to bank security notice]

 

Detailed Analysis

Malicious emails like the examples shown above are currently being distributed by Internet criminals. The emails claim that users have received a secure message.

The messages inform recipients that they can read the secure message by opening an attached .zip file. To further the illusion of legitimacy, links in some of the emails point to genuine security information on the targeted entity’s real website.

The emails also use spoofed addresses to make it appear that the messages really do originate from the targeted company.

The financial institution or company named in the scam emails varies considerably. One recent version claims to have been sent by Australia’s National Bank. Earlier versions have named the Bank of America, the Commonwealth Bank, and several other financial entities around the world. Another version falsely identified networking company Cisco as the sender.
Those who fall for the ruse and unzip the attached file will then be presented with a file named ‘SecureMessage.exe’ or ‘SecureMessage.scr’. If they proceed to open this file, they will install malware on their computers. This malware may steal information, make contact with a remote server and download and install further malware.

If you receive one of these malware emails, do not open any attachments that it may contain. Do not follow any links in the message.

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