Beware of Malware – It could be hiding in imposter income tax return emails!
The internet has enabled individuals and companies to explore, innovate and expand. But it has also made life easier for scammers, malware attackers and hackers as their victims are more accessible to them than ever.
Recently, a malware was found in emails disguised as emails from the Indian Income Tax Department. This malware is taking advantage of the recipient’s worries about the status of their business with the department. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has stated that “A phishing and malware campaign is active since at least September 12 and is targeting individuals as well as financial organizations. The campaign involves fake emails purporting to be sent from the Indian Income Tax Department,”
According to the advisory, two variants of the emails have been found. One of them has an attachment containing an .img file containing a malicious .pif file. In the second variant, the worried recipient is lured into downloading a .pif file hosted on a fraudulent domain. However, this domain has now been disabled. Some of the samples of these fraud emails have the following subject lines:
- “Important: Income Tax Outstanding Statements A.Y 2017-2018”
- Income Tax Statement XML PAN XXX895X.pif
- Income Tax Statement XML.img
- Income Tax Statement XXX8957X.pif
CERT cautioned users against opening documents from untrusted sources and to disable running macros in MS Office. It also strongly advised users to not open attachments in unsolicited e-mails even if they come from people in your contact lists and emphasized the importance of never clicking on a URL contained in unsolicited e-mails.
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