An email with the subject of FW: Case C238260756 message pretending to come from Companies House but actually coming from a look alike domain WebFiling@companieshousewebfilling.co.uk with a malicious attachment is today’s latest spoof of a well known company, bank or public authority delivering some sort of malware
This is Trickbot banking Trojan. It is unusual for them to change delivery methods. Trickbot traditionally use macro word docs, so the use of zips & js files is unusual. They must have done some work on the payload to prevent the sandboxes seeing its behaviour
They are using email addresses and subjects that will scare or entice a user to read the email and open the attachment. A very high proportion are being targeted at small and medium size businesses, with the hope of getting a better response than they do from consumers.
Remember many email clients, especially on a mobile phone or tablet, only show the Name in the From: and not the bit in <domain.com >. That is why these scams and phishes work so well.
Companies House has not been hacked or had their email or other servers compromised. They are not sending the emails to you. They are just innocent victims in exactly the same way as every recipient of these emails.
What has happened is that the criminals sending these have registered various domains that look like genuine Government domains. Previosu versions had 3 or 4 newly registered domains that imitate Companies House or some message sending service that can easily be confused with a legitimate organisation in some way that send these
As usual they are registered and hosted on Godaddy 18.104.22.168
The emails are being sent from this range of IP addresses 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168 UpCloud Ltd
The email looks like:
From: Companies House <WebFiling@companieshousewebfilling.co.uk>
Date: Tue 23/05/2017 11:37
Subject: FW: Case C238260756
This message has been generated in response to the company complaint submitted to Companies House WebFiling service. (CC01) Company Complaint for the above company was accepted on 23/05/2017. The submission number is NDSB883CPH9382. Please quote this number in any communications with Companies House. For more information please click here or the link below: https://companieshouse.gov.uk/Case=C238260756?phpCase-download.aspx All WebFiled documents are available to view / download for 10 days after their original submission. However it is not possible to view copies of accounts that were downloaded as templates. Not yet filing your accounts online? See how easy it is… Note: reference to company may also include Limited Liability Partnership(s). Thank you for using the Companies House WebFiling service. Service Desk tel +44 (0)303 1234 500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Note: This email was sent from a notification-only email address which cannot accept incoming email. Please do not reply directly to this message.
EMAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE This communication contains information which is confidential and may also be privileged. It is for the exclusive use of the intended recipient(s). If you are not the intended recipient(s) please note that any distribution, copying or use of this communication or the information in it is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error please notify us by email (email@example.com) or by telephone (+44 (0)20 4323 544) and then delete the email and any copies of it.
The link in the email body goes to https://companieshousewebfilling.co.uk/CaseC238260756.zip
|22.214.171.124||companieshousewebfilling.co.uk||Stevenage||England||GB||AS202053 UpCloud Ltd|
by knight.knighthosting.co.uk with esmtp (Exim 4.89)
for firstname.lastname@example.org; Tue, 23 May 2017 11:40:15 +0100
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha1; c=relaxed/relaxed; s=key; d=companieshousewebfilling.co.uk;
Received: by companieshousewebfilling.co.uk id h4g8ou9002cc for <email@example.com>; Tue, 23 May 2017 10:37:32 +0000 (envelope-from <WebFilingfirstname.lastname@example.org>)
Date: Tue, 23 May 2017 10:37:32 +0000
Subject: FW: Case C238260756
From: “Companies House” <WebFiling@companieshousewebfilling.co.uk>
CaseC238260756.zip extracts to CaseC238260756.js Current Virus total detections: Payload Security shows a download from http://grseeds.com/geraldosithx.png which of course is not an image file but a renamed .exe file that gets renamed to kJRSwXfWB.exe and autorun ( VirusTotal) ( Payload Security)
All the alleged senders, companies, names of employees, phone numbers, amounts, reference numbers etc. mentioned in the emails are all innocent and are just picked at random. Some of these companies will exist and some won’t. Don’t try to respond by phone or email, all you will do is end up with an innocent person or company who have had their details spoofed and picked at random from a long list that the bad guys have previously found . The bad guys choose companies, Government departments and other organisations with subjects that are designed to entice you or alarm you into blindly opening the attachment or clicking the link in the email to see what is happening.
Please read our How to protect yourselves page for simple, sensible advice on how to avoid being infected by this sort of socially engineered malware. Also please read our post about word macro malware and how to avoid being infected by them
Be very careful with email attachments. All of these emails use Social engineering tricks to persuade you to open the attachments that come with the email. It might be a simple message saying “look at this picture of me I took last night” that appears to come from a friend. It might be a scare ware message that will make you open the attachment to see what you are accused of doing. Frequently it is more targeted at somebody ( small companies etc.) who regularly receive PDF attachments or Word .doc attachments or any other common file that you use every day, for example an invoice addressed to email@example.com.
The basic rule is NEVER open any attachment to an email, unless you are expecting it. Now that is very easy to say but quite hard to put into practice, because we all get emails with files attached to them. Our friends and family love to send us pictures of them doing silly things, or even cute pictures of the children or pets. Many of us routinely get Word, Excel or PowerPoint attachments in the course of work or from companies that we already have a relationship with.
Never just blindly click on the file in your email program. Always save the file to your downloads folder, so you can check it first. A lot of malicious files that are attached to emails will have a faked extension. That is the 3 letters at the end of the file name. Unfortunately windows by default hides the file extensions so you need to Set your folder options to “show known file types. Then when you unzip the zip file that is supposed to contain the pictures of “Sally’s dog catching a ball”, an invoice or receipt from some company for a product or service or receive a Word doc or Excel file report that work has supposedly sent you to finish working on at the weekend, you can easily see if it is a picture or document & not a malicious program. If you see JS or .EXE or .COM or .PIF or .SCR or .HTA .vbs, .wsf , .jse .jar at the end of the file name DO NOT click on it or try to open it, it will infect you.
With these malformed infected word, excel and other office documents that normally contain a vba macro virus, the vital thing is do not open any office document direct from your email client or the web. Always save the document to a safe location on your computer, normally your downloads folder or your documents folder and scan it with your antivirus. Many Antiviruses do not natively detect vba macro-viruses in real time protection and you need to enable document or office protection in the settings. Do not rely on your Anti-Virus to immediately detect the malware or malicious content. DO NOT enable editing mode or enable macros
All modern versions of word and other office programs, that is 2010, 2013, 2016 and 365, should open all Microsoft office documents that is word docs, excel files and PowerPoint etc that are downloaded from the web or received in an email automatically in “protected view” that stops any embedded malware or macros from being displayed and running. Make sure protected view is set in all office programs to protect you and your company from these sorts of attacks and do not over ride it to edit the document until you are 100% sure that it is a safe document. If the protected mode bar appears when opening the document DO NOT enable editing mode or enable macros the document will look blank or have a warning message, but will be safe.
Be aware that there are a lot of dodgy word docs spreading that WILL infect you with no action from you if you are still using an out dated or vulnerable version of word. This is a good reason to update your office programs to a recent version and stop using office 2003 and 2007. Many of us have continued to use older versions of word and other office programs, because they are convenient, have the functions and settings we are used to and have never seen a need to update to the latest super-duper version. The risks in using older version are now seriously starting to outweigh the convenience, benefits and cost of keeping an old version going.
I strongly urge you to update your office software to the latest version and stop putting yourself at risk, using old out of date software.