Symantec AntiVirus Research Center  

ISSN 1444-9994


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January 2001 Newsletter


Year 2000 Summary

1 WScript.KakWorm 21.4%
2 W95.MTX 9.5%
3 VBS.LoveLetter 8.3%
4 W95.Hybris 5.1%
5 VBS.Stages.A 3.7%
6 W32.HLLW.Qaz.A 4.7%
7 Happy99.Worm 2.5%
8 W32.Navidad 2.3%
9 VBS.Network 2.1%
10 W32.FunLove.4099 1.6%

These are the most reported Viruses, Trojans and Worms to SARC's offices during the last month.

Top Global Threats

Asia Pacific




New Virus Hoaxes reported to Symantec

No New Hoaxes this Month

Top 20
Global Threats

By SecurityPortal

VBS.LoveLetter Family
(alias W32.Ska)
W97M.Marker Family
W97M.Thursday Family
(alias Troj.Qaz.A)


Here in SARC we've been discussing the past year's viruses and worms and speculating about the possibilities for the coming year. Rather than spend time taking a detailed look back at the year 2000 I thought you'd rather we looked forward to 2001, so I've included a table in the sidebar this month showing the top 10 threats for the year 2000 as reported by Symantec and we'll get straight into some speculation about the coming year in my article 'Looking forward in 2001'

Whilst running some reports for this months newsletter I realised that JS.Seeker, discovered mid December, has shot up the list of reported threats. Even though it is still rated as a low risk and has no dangerous payload I thought we'd inlcude it this month. We also cover W32.Music.E.Worm, VBS.Sorry.A and VBS.TQLL.A@mm (@mm means mass mailer). Last months top new theats were also all worms, it looks like worms have hit the top of the trendy list if you are into writing malicious code. If you want to know the difference between a virus and a worm then go to our glossary or this article.

EICAR (European Institute for Computer Anti-Virus Research) is having it's annual conference in March. The 10th Annual EICAR & 2nd European Anti-Malware Conference will be held from 3th - 6th March 2001 in Munich, Germany.

David Banes.

        Worms in the News  



JS.Seeker is a Trojan horse program that alters the default startup and search pages of your Web browser. The Trojan horse sometimes arrives as a file named Runme.hta, and runs only if Windows Scripting Host is installed.

When JS.Seeker is executed, it makes several changes to the Windows registry.

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\Start Page
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\Search Bar
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\Default_Page_URL
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\Default_Search_URL
HKCU\Software\Netscape\Netscape Navigator\Main\Home Page

Original registry values are saved to the files Backup1.reg and Backup2.reg in the Windows directory.

The Trojan horse creates a file named Homereg111.reg in the Windows directory and sets the above mentioned registry keys to its own values. The Trojan horse then runs Removeit.hta, which deletes the file Runme.hta from the C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup folder.

The Trojan horse also creates Prefs.js in the Windows directory. The Prefs.js file is a JavaScript file, which changes Netscape Preferences to its own.

To remove JS.Seeker scan with Norton AntiVirus and delete all files detected as JS.Seeker. Delete the Homereg111.reg and Prefs.js files from the Windows directory. Run Backup1.reg and Backup2.reg from your Windows directory.
by: Gor Nazaryan




W32.Music.E.Worm is a worm that runs only on Windows 95 and Windows 98 systems. The worm requires a specific Win32 API that is only available in Windows 95 and Windows 98 versions of Kernel32.dll.

W32.Music.E.Worm is a variant of W32.Music.A.Worm. The main difference between these two variants is that W32.Music.E.Worm goes to a different website to download the mailer component. This new dropper component does not necessarily depend on a specific mailer component; i.e. it may work with any version of that mailer component. The result of this is that the subject and body of the message to which the file is attached may vary, as well as the name of the attachment.

To remove W32.Music.E.Worm follow this link.
by: Cary Ng


Small [2]


VBS.Sorry.A is a Visual Basic Script worm which copies itself to multiple directories on the hard drive and network drives. The worm also drops an mIRC configuration file which searches for computers infected with SubSeven Trojan. It copies and executes itself on those computers.

The worm attempts to delete uncommon files and folders and copies itself as sndload.vbs, ttfload.vbs, or random a filename
To remove VBS.Sorry delete all detected files, restore the Internet Explorer Start Page and delete or revert all registry entries to their previous values.
By Eric Chien

Minimal [1]


VBS.TQLL.A@mm is a worm written in Visual Basic Script. Symantec has no confirmed reports of this virus in the wild and considers it low or no risk at this time.

The worm will arrive by email with the following message and attachment.

New Year !
Wow Happy New Year !

It will have an attachment called 'happynewyear.txt.vbs'which is 10,390 bytes in size.

The worm will not execute by simply reading the email. But if the attachment called happynewyear.txt.vbs is executed, it will create a malicious program called 3k.exe in your windows directory and run it automatically. The 3k.exe program is a Trojan horse program. Norton AntiVirus will detect it as Backdoor.TQLL. The worm will also send itself to everyone in your Microsoft address book automatically.

To remove this worm delete all files detected as VBS.TQLL.A@mm and Backdoor.TQLL
by: Motoaki Yamamura
          Visit the Symantec Enterprise Security Web Site    
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Recent headlines include:
Leahy Computer Crime Bill Receives Final Senate Approval; US Newswire (USA)

Net Tightens Around the Hacktivists: Big Corporations and Governments Want
to Curb the Protests of the Cyber Hippies; The Guardian (London)

Read our latest feature article "The Rise of the Trojan Virus" to learn about the best defense against viruses carrying Trojans.
          Looking forward in 2001.    


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    Many people have already published their thoughts on this topic, from anti-virus vendors to journalists and independent research organizations. The opinions are varied and sometimes contradictory. We thought you'd like to read about our thoughts on this subject now we've had a chance to look at the trends in threats and technologies that Symantec have seen over the last year. Whilst this is an interesting topic this article should be read as a long range weather report.

Over the last year we have seen an increase in the number of complicated Windows 32 bit worms and viruses, in fact if you look back over the last five years you could estimate that 50% of threats in this category appeared in 2000, a sobering thought if you have your head in a debugger all day. The level of complexity increased by a factor of two or three and we now estimate that to write detection and repair for the average Win32 threat takes anything from two to six hours whilst something very complicated may take a week. You can get an idea of the level of concern we have about this when you realize that a mass mailing worm could send out as many copies of itself as you have email addresses in your address book.

We will continue to see threats that blur the line between the traditional computer virus type of threat, network security breaches and DoS attacks. We've seen the start of this in 2000 with the several well publicized denial of service attacks and DNS hijackings. Looking at our own reports we see many more back door and remote control Trojans that target specific types of data, such as password files and financial account details.

To counter these types of threats vendors like Symantec have been busy releasing upgraded versions of server based anti-virus, content filtering and fire wall products. Most corporations would have spent the year reviewing not only their email scanning solutions and policies but their security across the whole enterprise, from personal firewalls and desktop anti-virus to complete enterprise wide managed solutions such as those offered by the recently merged Symantec/Axent portfolio.

I'm also sure that with the convergence of mobile devices such as hand-held computers and mobile phones these devices will be targeted by malicious code authors. All of us, both anti-virus researchers and anti-virus customers, need to keep an open mind and realize that's it's only a matter of time before mobile devices are in the high risk category. How much time is a guessing game but we need to be prepared, anti-virus research specialists like Eric Chien from SARC EMEA and his work on PDA's, continually researching these areas, are essential if we are to be ready to face threats in a connected mobile world.

Expect to see new threats for Linux, PalmOS powered devices such as PDA's and mobile phones, PocketPC's(Windows CE), and maybe even EPOC and WAP (v1.2 or later) enabled devices by the end of the year or early 2002. We've already seen things moving in this direction with several Linux viruses and the first PalmOS virus and Trojan. As Linux becomes more common on the desktop and the cost of ownership of PDA's drops dramatically these platforms become more accessible to virus and worm authors. Add more processing power (Compaq's iPaq 3600 PocketPC is already over 200Mhz) wireless networking and increasingly rich media being seen on handheld devices and the levels of risk rise substantially.

These threats can be avoided or marginalized if the vendors of mobile computing and telephony devices rationalize the functionality, encapsulate features like scripting within the devices security model and enhance that security with digital signatures, encryption and access control. Only then will mobile computing remain safe computing.

By David Banes

SARC Glossary for definitions of viruses, Trojans and worms and more.

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