Companies House Email Virus

Also Known As: Companies House authentication code virus
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Companies House Email Virus removal guide

What is Companies House Email Virus?

"Companies House Email Virus" is a spam email campaign similar to Royal Bank Of Scotland Email Virus, Danske Bank Email Virus, and many others. This campaign is used to proliferate the TrickBot trojan. As usual, cyber criminals send thousands of deceptive email messages encouraging users to open attached Microsoft Office documents. Once opened, these attachments immediately infiltrate TrickBot into systems.

Companies House Email Virus malware

"Companies House Email Virus" campaign emails are presented as notifications encouraging users to authenticate company documents. The message is supposedly sent by Companies House, a governmental agency that registers and holds information about all existing companies in United Kingdom. This agency has nothing to do with the "Companies House Email Virus" campaign. Cyber criminals often hide behind the names of legitimate companies or governmental agencies. This significantly increases the number of infections, since users are much more likely to open files when they are received from familiar names. TrickBot is a high-risk trojan used to record personal information. It infiltrates web browsers and modifies visited website content so that entered credentials (logins/passwords) are sent to/saved on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals. These people might gain access to users' personal bank accounts, social networks, emails, and so on. Therefore, the presence of a trojan such as TrickBot might lead to significant financial loss and identity theft. If you have already opened "Companies House Email Virus" campaign attachments, there is a high probability that your computer is infected with TrickBot. Therefore, you should scan it with a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite and eliminate all threats.

Threat Summary:
NameCompanies House authentication code virus
Threat TypeTrojan, Password stealing virus, Banking malware, Spyware
SymptomsTrojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate victim's computer and remain silent thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.
Distribution methodsInfected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software cracks.
DamageStolen banking information, passwords, identity theft, victim's computer added to a botnet.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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There are dozens of trojan-type viruses proliferated using spam email campaigns. All are similar to TrickBot. FormBook, Adwind, and Emotet - just some examples from a long list. These viruses are developed by different cyber criminals and their behavior might also differ. Some gather information, whilst others proliferate other viruses and carry out various actions simultaneously. Whatever their functionality, they pose a significant threat to your privacy and computer safety. Therefore, eliminate them immediately.

How did Companies House Email Virus infect my computer?

As mentioned above, "Companies House Email Virus" campaign proliferates a malicious Microsoft Office attachment. Once opened, this file delivers a message encouraging users to enable macro commands. In doing so, however, users inadvertently grant documents permission to infiltrate TrickBot into the system. This malware distribution method is simple and effective, however, it is not flawless. Be aware that attachments are only able to download malware if users open them using MS Office tools. For example, .doc files will only be able to infect the system if users open them using the MS Word program. In addition, TrickBot only works with the Windows Operating System and users of other platforms are safe.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the Internet. Carefully analyze each email attachment received. Files that seem irrelevant and those received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses should never be opened. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - these tools can detect and eliminate infectious files before they perform malicious actions. Note that MS Office 2010 and more recent versions are designed to open newly-downloaded documents in "Protected View" mode. This prevents malicious files from downloading/installing viruses. The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and reckless behavior. The key to safety is caution. If you have already opened a "Companies House Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Companies House Email Virus" email message:

Subject: WebFiling Authentication Code
(This is a new company authentication code, we will also send you confirmation of this code by post.)
Please check attached document for Company Authentication Code, this code is also sent by post to the company’s registered office address, normally sent within *5 working days.
The Authentication Code is the electronic equivalent of a company officers signature.
To access WebFiling and submit data both a password and authentication code are required.
When you have both password and authentication code
1. Return to the WebFiling Welcome screen hxxps://ewf.companieshouse.gov.uk/ and select ‘CONTINUE’.
2. Enter your registered email address and password to sign in.
3. Enter the company number and Authentication Code to proceed.
An up-to-date list of documents that can be filed via this service can be found on the WebFiling Sign in screen.
All WebFiled documents are available to view / download for 10 days after their original submission by selecting ‘My Recent Filings’. However it is not possible to view copies of accounts that were downloaded as templates.
You can change or cancel your Company Authentication Code by selecting ‘Company Registration Details’.
Note
If you submit information for more than one company you may choose to use the same code for all your companies, see HELP text for further information.
Note: reference to company may also include Limited Liability Partnership(s).
WebFiling Service Desk tel: +44 (0)303 1234 500 or email: enquiries@companieshouse.gov.uk
Thank you for visiting the Companies House Website – hxxp://www.companieshouse.gov.uk
Note: This email was sent from a notification-only email address which cannot accept incoming email. Please do not reply directly to this message.

Malicious attachment distributed via "Companies House Email Virus" spam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Companies House Email Virus spam campaign

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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How to remove malware manually?

Manual malware removal is a complicated task - usually it is best to allow antivirus or anti-malware programs to do this automatically. To remove this malware we recommend using Malwarebytes for Windows. If you wish to remove malware manually, the first step is to identify the name of the malware that you are trying to remove. Here is an example of a suspicious program running on a user's computer:

malicious process running on user's computer sample

If you checked the list of programs running on your computer, for example using task manager, and identified a program that looks suspicious, you should continue with these steps:

manual malware removal step 1 Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:

screenshot of autoruns application

manual malware removal step 2Restart your computer into Safe Mode:

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

 

manual malware removal step 3Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.

extract autoruns.zip and run autoruns.exe

manual malware removal step 4In the Autoruns application, click "Options" at the top and uncheck "Hide Empty Locations" and "Hide Windows Entries" options. After this procedure, click the "Refresh" icon.

Click 'Options' at the top and uncheck 'Hide Empty Locations' and 'Hide Windows Entries' options

manual malware removal step 5Check the list provided by the Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.

You should write down its full path and name. Note that some malware hides process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage, it is very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate the suspicious program you wish to remove, right click your mouse over its name and choose "Delete".

locate the malware file you want to remove

After removing the malware through the Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware will not run automatically on the next system startup), you should search for the malware name on your computer. Be sure to enable hidden files and folders before proceeding. If you find the filename of the malware, be sure to remove it.

searching for malware file on your computer

Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills. If you do not have these skills, leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it is best to prevent infection than try to remove malware later. To keep your computer safe, install the latest operating system updates and use antivirus software.

To be sure your computer is free of malware infections, we recommend scanning it with Malwarebytes for Windows.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Companies House authentication code virus QR code
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