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Discovered: March 19, 2003
Updated: February 13, 2007 11:44:39 AM
Also Known As: W32/Holar.d@MM [McAfee], W32/Holar.e@MM [McAfee], W32/Holar.h@MM [McAfee], WORM_HOLAR.D [Trend], WORM_HOLAR.E [Trend], I-Worm.Hawawi [KAV], I-Worm.Hawawi.e [KAV], Win32.Holar.F [CA]
Type: Worm
Systems Affected: Windows

W32.Hawawi.Worm is a worm that spreads through email using its own SMTP server, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, PalTalk, and KaZaA. The email message has one of many different Subject lines, such as:

  • '''*< Love Speaks it all >*'''
  • Co0o0o0o0oL
  • Fw:
  • Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey
  • Wussaaaaaaaap?
  • WoW But not for NoW
  • Why Do We FOk?

The messages have an attachment with a .pif extension, usually Hawawi.pif or Hawa.pif.

W32.Hawawi.Worm has a payload of overwriting all the files that have the following extensions, with zero-byte files:
  • mpeg
  • rm
  • wav
  • sql
  • mde
  • php
  • cpp
  • swf
  • ram
  • mp3
  • frm
  • dpr
  • rar
  • mpg
  • jpg
  • pdf
  • pps
  • ppt
  • txt
  • htm
  • html
  • zip
  • doc
  • mdb
  • xls

NOTE: A minor variant of W32.Hawawi.Worm was discovered on May 28, 2003. Detection for this was incorporated into the May 29, 2003 virus definitions.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version March 19, 2003
  • Latest Rapid Release version January 15, 2018 revision 020
  • Initial Daily Certified version March 19, 2003
  • Latest Daily Certified version January 15, 2018 revision 024
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date March 19, 2003

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

Technical Description

When W32.Hawawi.Worm is executed, it does the following:

  1. Creates the files:
    • %Temp%\<Random number>.exe
    • %System%\Media Player.exe
    • %System%\SmtpMailer.dll
    • %System%\Sys32 .exe
    • C:\Msg.htm

    • %System%\explore.exe
    • %System%\SMTP.ocx

  2. Adds the value:

    Ioadqm %SysDir%\Media Player.exe


    Explore %SysDir%\explore.exe

    to the registry key:

  3. Shares the System folder under KaZaA and copies itself as many different filenames, some of which are:
    • Aint_it_Funny.pif
    • AniMaL_N_Burning_Ladies.pif
    • Asian_girls.pif
    • Beauty_VS_Your_FaCe.pif
    • Black_babes.pif
    • Endless_life.pif
    • Famous_PpL_N_Bad_Setuations.pif
    • Gurls_Secrets.pif
    • HardCore_Amature_Naked_nude.pif
    • HaWaWi.pif
    • HaWawi_N_Hawaii.pif
    • Hearts_translator.pif
    • Hot_Show.pif
    • Hot_teen_Virgin.pif
    • How_to_improve_ur_love.pif
    • Leaders_Scandals.pif
    • Lo0o0o0o0oL.pif
    • Music_downloader.pif
    • Real_Magic.pif
    • Short_vClip.pif
    • Show_clip_mpeg_movie.pif
    • Sweet_but_smilly.pif
    • Tears_of_Happiness.pif
    • The_Truth_of_Love.pif
    • unfaithful_Gurls.pif
    • White_AmeRica.pif
    • XxX_Mpegs_Downloader.pif

  4. Emails itself using its own SMTP server. If the worm cannot find a "From" address, the email messages will be from one of the following:


Email routine details

The email message can have many different random subject lines and messages. All messages have a .pif attachment. Some of the possible email messages are as follows:

Subject: '''*< Love Speaks it all >*'''
Message: Try this great program allowing u to translate 100 languages .  just write a passage in english and chose a language to get the traslation one of my friends used it with his arabian gf and it worked successfully ;) so , Now we can say ' Love Speaks it All ' :)

Subject:   Co0o0o0o0oL
Message: i thing the subject is enough to describe the attached file ! check it out and replay your opinion Cya

Subject: Fw:
Message: You're gonna love it ;) delete it after reading , Professor :P

Subject: Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey
Message: i've got this surprise from a friend :) it really deserves a few minutes of your time.  Bye

Subject: Wussaaaaaaaap?
Message:   Should i email u first to email me?  u don't know how much ur emails mean to me. i wish u like this email and plzz don't forget me :)

Subject: WoW But not for NoW
Message: coz i couldn't get the other part of it , any way , check it out
having alil thing is better than nothing :P

Subject:   Why Do We FOk?
Message: let me answer ,,, hummmmmmmmm Coz we Burn Our selves by watching ********** like the one i attached :P


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.


The following instructions pertain to all current and recent Symantec antivirus products, including the Symantec AntiVirus and Norton AntiVirus product lines.

  1. Update the virus definitions.
  2. Run a full system scan and delete all the files detected as W32.Hawawi.Worm.
  3. Delete the value that was added to the registry.
NOTE: The files that the worm overwrote should be replaced from a clean backup, if needed.

For specific details on each of these steps, read the following instructions.

1. Updating the virus definitions
Symantec Security Response fully tests all the virus definitions for quality assurance before they are posted to our servers. There are two ways to obtain the most recent virus definitions:
  • Running LiveUpdate, which is the easiest way to obtain virus definitions: These virus definitions are posted to the LiveUpdate servers once each week (usually on Wednesdays), unless there is a major virus outbreak. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by LiveUpdate, refer to the Virus Definitions (LiveUpdate).
  • Downloading the definitions using the Intelligent Updater: The Intelligent Updater virus definitions are posted on U.S. business days (Monday through Friday). You should download the definitions from the Symantec Security Response Web site and manually install them. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by the Intelligent Updater, refer to the Virus Definitions (Intelligent Updater).

    The 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. Scanning for and deleting the infected files
  1. Start your Symantec antivirus program and make sure that it is configured to scan all the files.
  2. Run a full system scan.
  3. If any files are detected as infected with W32.Hawawi.Worm, click Delete.

3. Deleting the value from the registry

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

    Then click OK. (The Registry Editor opens.)
  3. Navigate to the key:

  4. In the right pane, delete the value:

    Ioadqm %SysDir%\Media Player.exe
  5. Exit the Registry Editor.

Writeup By: Douglas Knowles