VBS.Challenge

Printer Friendly Page

Discovered: February 28, 2001
Updated: February 13, 2007 11:53:02 AM
Type: Worm


VBS.Challenge spreads by using Microsoft Outlook Express. This worm copies itself into every email message that is sent.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version March 01, 2001
  • Latest Rapid Release version September 28, 2010 revision 054
  • Initial Daily Certified version March 01, 2001
  • Latest Daily Certified version September 28, 2010 revision 036

Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

Writeup By: Andre Post

Discovered: February 28, 2001
Updated: February 13, 2007 11:53:02 AM
Type: Worm


When run, VBS.Challenge does the following:

  1. It creates the file:

    C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\Temp.hta

    This causes the worm to run at system startup.
  2. It creates the file:

    \Windows\System\Folder.html

    This file contains the worm source code that is inserted in every sent email message.

    NOTE: This path will vary if Windows is installed in a different location.
  3. Finally, it adds the following registry keys:
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\[Default User ID]\Software\Microsoft\
      Outlook Express\5.0\Signature Flags = 3
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\[Default User ID]\Software\Microsoft\
      Outlook Express\5.0\signatures\Default Signature = 00000000
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\[Default User ID]\Software\Microsoft\
      Outlook Express\5.0\signatures\00000000\
      file = [Windows\System path]\FOLDER.HTML
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\[Default User ID]\Software\Microsoft\
      Outlook Express\5.0\signatures\00000000\
      name = Signature #1
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\[Default User ID]\Software\Microsoft\
      Outlook Express\5.0\signatures\00000000\
      text = [empty]
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\[Default User ID]\Software\Microsoft\
      Outlook Express\5.0\signatures\00000000\type = 2
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\[Default User ID]\Software\Microsoft\
      Outlook Express\5.0\Mail\Message Send HTML = 1
  4. The running worm file then deletes itself.


Recommendations

Symantec Security Response encourages all users and administrators to adhere to the following basic security "best practices":

  • Use a firewall to block all incoming connections from the Internet to services that should not be publicly available. By default, you should deny all incoming connections and only allow services you explicitly want to offer to the outside world.
  • Enforce a password policy. Complex passwords make it difficult to crack password files on compromised computers. This helps to prevent or limit damage when a computer is compromised.
  • Ensure that programs and users of the computer use the lowest level of privileges necessary to complete a task. When prompted for a root or UAC password, ensure that the program asking for administration-level access is a legitimate application.
  • Disable AutoPlay to prevent the automatic launching of executable files on network and removable drives, and disconnect the drives when not required. If write access is not required, enable read-only mode if the option is available.
  • Turn off file sharing if not needed. If file sharing is required, use ACLs and password protection to limit access. Disable anonymous access to shared folders. Grant access only to user accounts with strong passwords to folders that must be shared.
  • Turn off and remove unnecessary services. By default, many operating systems install auxiliary services that are not critical. These services are avenues of attack. If they are removed, threats have less avenues of attack.
  • If a threat exploits one or more network services, disable, or block access to, those services until a patch is applied.
  • Always keep your patch levels up-to-date, especially on computers that host public services and are accessible through the firewall, such as HTTP, FTP, mail, and DNS services.
  • Configure your email server to block or remove email that contains file attachments that are commonly used to spread threats, such as .vbs, .bat, .exe, .pif and .scr files.
  • Isolate compromised computers quickly to prevent threats from spreading further. Perform a forensic analysis and restore the computers using trusted media.
  • Train employees not to open attachments unless they are expecting them. Also, do not execute software that is downloaded from the Internet unless it has been scanned for viruses. Simply visiting a compromised Web site can cause infection if certain browser vulnerabilities are not patched.
  • If Bluetooth is not required for mobile devices, it should be turned off. If you require its use, ensure that the device's visibility is set to "Hidden" so that it cannot be scanned by other Bluetooth devices. If device pairing must be used, ensure that all devices are set to "Unauthorized", requiring authorization for each connection request. Do not accept applications that are unsigned or sent from unknown sources.
  • For further information on the terms used in this document, please refer to the Security Response glossary.

Writeup By: Andre Post

Discovered: February 28, 2001
Updated: February 13, 2007 11:53:02 AM
Type: Worm


To remove this worm:

  1. Run LiveUpdate to make sure that you have the most recent virus definitions.
  2. Start Norton AntiVirus (NAV), and run a full system scan, making sure that NAV is set to scan all files.
  3. Delete any files detected as VBS.Challenge.
  4. To revert all the changes made in the registry, start Microsoft Outlook Express and set up your signature again. (On current versions of Outlook Express, this is done by clicking Options on the Tools menu. Please see Microsoft Outlook Help for additional information.)


Writeup By: Andre Post