Server Update Notice Email Scam

What kind of email is “Server Update Notice”?

After examining the “Server Update Notice” letter, we determined that it is a phishing email. This mail aims to trick recipients into revealing email log-in credentials by falsely claiming that their account needs to be confirmed.

“Server Update Notice” email scam overview

The spam email with the subject “Server Update Notice – [recipient’s_email_address]” is presented as a notification from the email hosting/ server network service provider. The letter informs the recipient that their email account requires confirmation to avoid interruptions due to a recent server update. The recipient is warned that if they do not confirm the account within five days, it will be marked as dormant and removed.

As mentioned in the introduction, all the claims made by this email are fake, and this mail is in no way associated with any legitimate service providers.

Once the “Confirm your account” button was clicked, we were redirected to a phishing website that mimics the recipient’s email account sign-in page. Phishing sites operate by recording provided information, in this case – email account passwords.

The scammers behind this spam campaign can cause more damage than just hijack the exposed email account, as they may also gain access to the content registered through it.

To elaborate some on the potential misuse, cyber criminals can steal the identities of social account owners (e.g., emails, social media/networking, messengers, etc.) and ask the contacts/friends/followers for loans or donations, promote scams, and proliferate malware by sharing malicious files or links.

Furthermore, finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, e-commerce, cryptowallets, etc.) can be used to perform unauthorized transactions and online purchases. What is more, should any confidential or compromising content be found on file storage platforms, it could be used for blackmail or other nefarious purposes.

To summarize, victims of scam mail like “Server Update Notice” can experience serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have entered your log-in credentials into a phishing site – immediately change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and contact their official support.

Threat Summary:
Name “Server Update Notice” phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient’s email account requires confirmation to avoid operation interruptions.
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Mac)

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Phishing spam campaign examples

We have analyzed thousands of deceptive emails; “A File Was Shared With You Via Dropbox“, “DHL SHIPMENT REMINDER“, “Intuit QuickBooks Invoice“, “Your Account Has Been Temporarily Disabled“, “Account Violation Detected“, and “Your Email Has Used Up It Inbox Space” are merely some examples of ones used for phishing.

These letters can target a wide variety of information; most commonly, data of interest are log-in credentials, personally identifiable details, and finance-related details. Phishing is not the only type of scam facilitated through spam mail. Malware is also distributed through these emails.

Spam messages can be plain or elaborately disguised as missives from genuine service providers, companies, organizations, authorities, and other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can include malicious files as attachments or download links. These files come in various formats, e.g., executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), documents (PDF, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth.

When a virulent file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection chain is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents require users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote files need them to click on embedded files/links – to start downloading/installing malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages. Attachments or links found in suspect mail must not be opened, as they can be malicious and cause infections. Another recommendation is to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the “Protected View” mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.

However, it must be mentioned that malware is spread using various techniques. Therefore, we also advise being careful while browsing since fake and dangerous online content usually appears legitimate and harmless.

Furthermore, all downloads must be performed from official and trustworthy channels. And all programs must be activated and updated using legitimate functions/tools provided by genuine developers, as illegal activation (“cracking”) tools and third-party updates can contain malware.

We must stress the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats and issues. If you’ve already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the “Server Update Notice” spam email letter:

Subject: Server Update Notice –

Email Hosting () SERVER NETWORK

Server Update Notice

Due to recent update to our server, you are required to confirm your account below to avoid interruptions.

Confirm your account

Accounts that has been not confirmed after 5 days will be marked as dormant and will be deleted from our server.

Email Hosting Team

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the “Server Update Notice” spam campaign:

Server Update Notice scam email promoted phishing site

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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users’ computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals’ main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it’s a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one’s masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false – users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender’s (“from”) email address: Hover your mouse over the “from” address and check if it’s legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is and not something suspicious like,,, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is “Dear user”, “Dear”, “Dear valued customer”, this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don’t click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to… you shouldn’t trust it. It’s best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don’t blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it’s a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password – be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there’s a chance that criminals won’t have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information – contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There’s a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft – you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment – your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS.
  • Help other Internet users – report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did I receive this email?

Spam emails are not personal. Cyber criminals distribute this mail by the thousand with the hopes that at least some recipients will fall for their scams.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?

If you have provided your account credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you have disclosed other private data (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit card details, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities without delay.

I have read a spam email but didn’t open the attachment, is my computer infected?

Systems are infected when malicious files/links are opened; merely reading an email is not enough to trigger any infection chains.

I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?

Whether your device was infected might depend on the opened file’s format. Once opened, executables (.exe, .run, etc.) infect systems almost without fail. However, documents (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.) may need additional actions (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded files/links, etc.) to begin malware download/installation processes.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to detect and eliminate threats. It can remove nearly all known malware infections. Note that performing a full system is paramount since high-risk malicious programs typically hide deep within systems.

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