What is Companies House Email Virus?
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" 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.
|Name||Companies House spam|
|Threat Type||Trojan, Password stealing virus, Banking malware, Spyware|
|Symptoms||Trojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate victim's computer and remain silent thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.|
|Distribution methods||Infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software cracks.|
|Damage||Stolen 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 Combo Cleaner.
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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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’.
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: email@example.com
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:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Companies House spam?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious 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.
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.
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 @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
- Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "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 firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... 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 Windows.
Example of a spam email:
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 Windows.
- 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.