Printer Friendly Page

Discovered: July 28, 2002
Updated: February 13, 2007 11:49:13 AM
Also Known As: Worm.P2P.Sytro [AVP], W32/Qtint.worm[McAfee], Win32/Sytro.Worm[CA]
Type: Worm
Systems Affected: Windows

W32.HLLW.Electron is a worm that spreads across KaZaA or Morpheus file-sharing, peer-to-peer networks. The worm disguises itself as a movie, a game, or a software file to trick KaZaA and Morpheus users into downloading the program and opening it.

Several variants are detected as W32.HLLW.Electron. All variants are written in the Borland Delphi programming language. Some of the variants are compressed with UPX.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version July 29, 2002
  • Latest Rapid Release version August 23, 2019 revision 016
  • Initial Daily Certified version July 29, 2002
  • Latest Daily Certified version August 15, 2019 revision 002
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date July 31, 2002

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

Technical Description

When W32.HLLW.Electron runs, it attempts to do the following:

It displays a fake message. Different variants may display different fake messages. Here is a sample:

The worm may copy itself as one of the following, depending on the variant:

  • C:\%windir%\execfg4.exe
  • C:\%windir%\syscfg34.exe

NOTE : %windir% is a variable. The worm locates the \Windows folder (by default this is C:\Windows or C:\Winnt) and copies itself to that location.

It adds the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Positron4 to the registry. After the worm adds the key, it does not display the fake message again.

The worm searches the Windows registry to see if the KaZaA or Morpheus have been installed. If neither exists, the worm quits. Otherwise, it performs the following actions.

It adds one of these values (depending on the variant):

execfg4  C:\%windir%\execfg4.exe
syscfg34.exe C:\%windir%\syscfg34.exe

to the registry key


This causes the worm to run when you start Windows.

It creates the C:\%windir%\SysConfig folder. It then copies itself into this folder using many different names that are chosen randomly from a list carried by the worm. Here are some examples:
  • Star Wars Episode 2 - Attack Of The Clones Full Downloader.exe
  • Sony Play station boot disc - Downloader.exe
  • ScaryMovie 2 Full Downloader.exe
  • How To Hack Websites.exe
  • AIM Account Stealer Downloader.exe
  • MSN Password Hacker and Stealer.exe
  • ZoneAlarm Firewall Full Downloader.exe
  • KaZaA media desktop v2.0 UNOFFICIAL.exe

NOTE: The worm appends some random bytes to the files. Therefore, the sizes of the file copies are different.

If it determines that KaZaA is installed, the worm adds these values:

Dir<number> 012345:C:\%Windir%\SysConfig
DisableSharing 0x00000000 (0)

to the registry key


This enables C:\%windir%\SysConfig to be a KaZaA shared folder, from which other KaZaA users can download files.

NOTE: KaZaA allows more than one shared folder. Dir<number> may vary depending on the current KaZaA shared folder numbers.


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.


NOTE: These instructions are for all current and recent Symantec antivirus products, including the Symantec AntiVirus and Norton AntiVirus product lines.

  1. Update the virus definitions, run a full system scan, and delete all files that are detected as W32.HLLW.Electron.
  2. Delete the registry key

  3. Delete these values (if they exist):

    SysConfig C:\%windir%\syscfg35
    execfg4 C:\%Windir%\execfg4.exe

    from the registry key

For details on how to do this, read the following instructions.

To scan for and delete the infected files:
  1. Obtain the most recent virus definitions. There are two ways to do this:
    • Run LiveUpdate, which is the easiest way to obtain virus definitions. These virus definitions have undergone full quality assurance testing by Symantec Security Response and are posted to the LiveUpdate servers one time each week (usually Wednesdays) unless there is a major virus outbreak. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by LiveUpdate, look at the Virus Definitions (LiveUpdate) line at the top of this write-up.
    • Download the definitions using the Intelligent Updater. Intelligent Updater virus definitions have undergone full quality assurance testing by Symantec Security Response. They are posted on U.S. business days (Monday through Friday). They must be downloaded from the Symantec Security Response Web site and installed manually. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by the Intelligent Updater, look at the Virus Definitions (Intelligent Updater) line at the top of this write-up.

      Intelligent Updater virus definitions are available here. For detailed instructions on how to download and install the Intelligent Updater virus definitions from the Symantec Security Response Web site, click here.
  2. Start your Symantec antivirus program, and make sure that it is configured to scan all files.
  3. Run a full system scan.
  4. If any files are detected as infected by W32.HLLW.Electron, click Delete.

To remove the values from the registry:

CAUTION : Symantec strongly recommends that you back up the registry before you make any changes to it. Incorrect changes to the registry can result in permanent data loss or corrupted files. Modify only the keys that are specified. Read the document How to make a backup of the Windows registry for instructions.
  1. Click Start, and click Run. The Run dialog box appears.
  2. Type regedit and then click OK. The Registry Editor opens.
  3. Navigate to the following key:

  4. In the right pane, delete the following values if they exist:

    execfg4 C:\%Windir%\execfg4.exe
    syscfg34.exe C:\%Windir%\syscfg34.exe
  5. Navigate to the following key, and delete it:

  6. Exit the Registry Editor.

Writeup By: Yana Liu