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Discovered: March 24, 2003
Updated: February 13, 2007 11:44:49 AM
Also Known As: WORM_LOVGATE.F [Trend], WORM_LOVGATE.G [Trend], W32/Lovgate.f@M [McAfee], W32/Lovgate.g@M [McAfee], W32/Lovgate-E [Sophos], I-Worm.LovGate.f [KAV], Win32/Lovgate.F.Worm [CA]
Type: Worm
Systems Affected: Windows

W32.HLLW.Lovgate.G@mm is a minor variant of W32.HLLW.Lovgate.C@mm . This worm contains mass-mailing and backdoor functionalities. This variant does not properly function under Windows 95/98/Me systems.

To spread itself, the worm attempts to reply to incoming email messages and to email addresses that it finds in HTML files. The subject and attachment of the incoming email are chosen from a predefined list. The attachment will have a .exe, .pif, or .scr file extension.

W32.HLLW.Lovgate.G@mm also attempts to copy itself to all the computers on a local network, and then attempts to infect these computers. The worm also has a backdoor Trojan capability.

NOTE: Virus definitions dated March 24, 2003 may detect this threat as W32.HLLW.Lovgate.C@mm.

Symantec Security Response has created a tool to remove W32.HLLW.Lovgate.G@mm. Click here to obtain the tool.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version March 25, 2003
  • Latest Rapid Release version November 04, 2019 revision 019
  • Initial Daily Certified version March 25, 2003
  • Latest Daily Certified version November 04, 2019 revision 065
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date March 25, 2003

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

Technical Description

When W32.HLLW.Lovgate.G@mm is executed, it does the following:

  1. Copies itself to the %System% folder as these files:
    • Ravmond.exe
    • WinGate.exe
    • WinDriver.exe
    • Winrpc.exe
    • Winhelp.exe
    • Iexplore.exe
    • Kernel66.dll
    • NetServices.exe

  2. Copies the files that may have the following names to the %System% folder, and then executes them:
    • Task688.dll
    • Ily688.dll
    • Reg678.dll
    • 111.dll

      These files are the backdoor Trojan components of W32.HLLW.Lovgate.G@mm. Symantec antivirus products detect the files as W32.HLLW.Lovgate.G@mm.

  3. Adds the values:

    winhelp %system%\winhelp.exe
    WinGate initialize %system%\WinGate.exe -remoteshell
    Remote Procedure Call Locator rundll32.exe reg678.dll ondll_reg
    Program in Windows %system%\iexplore.exe

    to the registry key:


    so that the worm runs when you start Windows.
  4. Adds the value:


    to the registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows
  5. Modifies the (Default) value of the registry key:



    winrpc.exe %1

    so that the worm runs when you open any text file.
  6. Copies itself to all the network-shared folders and subfolders as any of the following:
    • Are you looking for Love.doc.exe
    • autoexec.bat
    • The world of lovers.txt.exe
    • How To Hack Websites.exe
    • Panda Titanium Crack.zip.exe
    • Mafia Trainer!!!.exe
    • 100 free essays school.pif
    • AN-YOU-SUCK-IT.txt.pif
    • Sex_For_You_Life.JPG.pif
    • CloneCD + crack.exe
    • Age of empires 2 crack.exe
    • MoviezChannelsInstaler.exe
    • Star Wars II Movie Full Downloader.exe
    • Winrar + crack.exe
    • SIMS FullDownloader.zip.exe
    • MSN Password Hacker and Stealer.exe

  7. Listens on TCP ports 1092, 20168, and 6000 and notifies the hacker using email addresses at 163.com and yahoo.com.cn.
  8. Runs a password authentication routine, contained in the worm, on ports 1092. After entering the correct password, the worm starts a command shell for the hacker.
  9. Starts a listening server that provides a command shell on port 20168 without requiring any authentication.
  10. Contains an incomplete function, which appears to be the start of the backdoor routine, on port 6000. Due to bugs in the worm, the routine may not properly operate. The routine may cause the file, C:\Netlog.txt, to be created with plain text data.
  11. Attempts to gather all the email addresses from HTML files and replies to all the incoming messages when they arrive in the Microsoft Outlook Inbox. Refer to the section, "Email routine details," for additional information.
  12. Scans all the computers on the local network, using the following passwords to attempt to log in as "Administrator:"
    • zxcv
    • yxcv
    • xxx
    • win
    • test123
    • test
    • temp123
    • temp
    • sybase
    • super
    • sex
    • secret
    • pwd
    • pw123
    • Password
    • owner
    • oracle
    • mypc123
    • mypc
    • mypass123
    • mypass
    • love
    • login
    • Login
    • Internet
    • home
    • godblessyou
    • god
    • enable
    • database
    • computer
    • alpha
    • admin123
    • Admin
    • abcd
    • aaa
    • 88888888
    • 2600
    • 2003
    • 2002
    • 123asd
    • 123abc
    • 123456789
    • 1234567
    • 123123
    • 121212
    • 11111111
    • 110
    • 007
    • 00000000
    • 000000
    • pass
    • 54321
    • 12345
    • password
    • passwd
    • server
    • sql
    • !@#$%^&*
    • !@#$%^&
    • !@#$%^
    • !@#$%
    • asdfgh
    • asdf
    • !@#$
    • 1234
    • 111
    • root
    • abc123
    • 12345678
    • abcdefg
    • abcdef
    • abc
    • 888888
    • 666666
    • 111111
    • admin
    • administrator
    • guest
    • 654321
    • 123456
    • 321
    • 123

      Please note that the worm will also attempt to log in as "Administrator" if no password is set for that account on the remote computer.
  13. If the worm successfully logs on to the remote computer, it attempts to copy itself as:

    \\<remote computer name>\admin$\system32\netservices.exe

    and to start the file as the service, "Microsoft NetWork FireWall Services."
  14. Creates the service, "Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extension," which is mapped to %System32%\WinDriver.exe.
  15. Creates the service, "NetMeeting Remote Desktop (RPC) Sharing," which is mapped to "Rundll32.exe task688.dll ondll_server."
  16. Registers itself as a service allowing it to continue running even if you log off.
  17. Injects a backdoor routine as a thread into Lsass.exe, which listens on port 1092.
  18. Injects a backdoor routine as a thread into Lsass.exe, which listens on port 20168.
  19. Injects a process-watching routine as a thread into either Explorer.exe or Taskmgr.exe. This remote thread will launch %System32%\Iexplore.exe if the worm process is stopped.
  20. The worm monitors the remote thread in either Explorer.exe or Taskmgr.exe. If the thread is stopped, the worm will re-inject the thread into Explorer.exe or Taskmgr.exe. The worm attempts this routine to remain active on the system if a portion of the worm is stopped.
  21. Creates a mutex under the name, "I-WORM-NEW-IPC-20168 Running," to signify that the worm is already running. A minor variant also uses the string, "I-WORM-NEW-IPC-20168."
Email routine details
There are two possible email routines.

Routine 1
The email messages will be formatted as follows:

Subject: The subject will be one of the following:
  • Reply to this!
  • Let's Laugh
  • Last Update
  • for you
  • Great
  • Help
  • Attached one Gift for u..
  • Hi Dear
  • See the attachement

Message: The message will be one of the following:
  • For further assistance, please contact!
  • Copy of your message, including all the headers is attached.
  • This is the last cumulative update.
  • Tiger Woods had two eagles Friday during his victory over Stephen Leaney. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
  • Send reply if you want to be official beta tester.
  • This message was created automatically by mail delivery software (Exim).
  • It's the long-awaited film version of the Broadway hit. Set in the roaring 20's, this is the story of Chicago chorus girl Roxie Hart (Zellweger), who shoots her unfaithful lover (West).
  • Adult content!!! Use with parental advisory.
  • Patrick Ewing will give Knick fans something to cheer about Friday night.
  • Send me your comments...

Attachment: The attachment, which is a copy of the worm, will be one of the following:
  • About_Me.txt.pif
  • driver.exe
  • Doom3 Preview!!!.exe
  • enjoy.exe
  • YOU_are_FAT!.TXT.pif
  • Source.exe
  • Interesting.exe
  • README.TXT.pif
  • images.pif
  • Pics.ZIP.scr

Routine 2
The email message will be formatted as follows:

Subject:   Re: <Original Subject>

<someone> wrote:
> <original message body>
<original sender> auto-reply:

> Get your FREE <original sender hostname> now! <

  If you can keep your head when all about you
  Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
  If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
  But make allowance for their doubting too;
  If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
  Or, being lied about,don't deal in lies,
  Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
  And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
  ... ... more  look to the attachment.

Attachment: The attachment, which is a copy of the worm, will be one of the following:
  • the hardcore game-.pif
  • Sex in Office.rm.scr
  • Deutsch BloodPatch!.exe
  • s3msong.MP3.pif
  • Me_nude.AVI.pif
  • How to Crack all gamez.exe
  • Macromedia Flash.scr
  • Shakira.zip.exe
  • dreamweaver MX (crack).exe
  • StarWars2 - CloneAttack.rm.scr
  • Industry Giant II.exe
  • DSL Modem Uncapper.rar.exe
  • joke.pif
  • Britney spears nude.exe.txt.exe
  • I am For u.doc.exe

Symantec ManHunt
To specifically detect this threat as W32.HLLW.Lovgate.G@mm, Symantec recommends that you use a Symantec ManHunt product to activate the HYBRID MODE function and apply the following custom rules:

*******************start file********************

alert tcp any any -> any 139 (msg:"W32.HLLW.LovGate.G@mm";
content:"|af 85 df 5d b3 49 1b 15 a6 6f 00 fe 03 c1 57 a2 77 73 05 09 bd 3d 5d f4 69|";)

alert tcp any any -> any 445 (msg:"W32.HLLW.LovGate.G@mm";
content:"|af 85 df 5d b3 49 1b 15 a6 6f 00 fe 03 c1 57 a2 77 73 05 09 bd 3d 5d f4 69|";)

alert tcp any any -> any 139 (msg:"W32.HLLW.LovGate.G@mm";
content:"|77 76 2c f6 f6 ea f8 ef 97 bb e8 3f b1 a7 13 ad 08 11 f4 53 69 67 80 1f 9d|";)

alert tcp any any -> any 445 (msg:"W32.HLLW.LovGate.G@mm";
content:"|77 76 2c f6 f6 ea f8 ef 97 bb e8 3f b1 a7 13 ad 08 11 f4 53 69 67 80 1f 9d|";)


will trigger on attempts by the worm to copy itself across the network. For more information on how to create custom signatures, refer to the "Symantec ManHunt Administrative Guide: Appendix A Custom Signatures for HYBRID Mode."


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.


Removal using the W32.HLLW.Lovgate Removal Tool
This is the easiest way to remove this threat. Symantec Security Response has created a W32.HLLW.Lovgate Removal Tool .

Manual Removal
As an alternative to using the removal tool, you can manually remove this threat.

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.HLLW.Lovgate.G@mm.
  3. Reverse the changes made to the registry
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.HLLW.Lovgate.G@mm, click Delete.

3. Reversing the changes to 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

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

  4. In the right pane, delete the values:

    winhelp %system%\winhelp.exe
    WinGate initialize %system%\WinGate.exe -remoteshell
    Remote Procedure Call Locator rundll32.exe reg678.dll
    Program in Windows %system%\iexplore.exe
  5. Navigate to the key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows
  6. In the right pane, delete the value:

  7. Navigate to and select the key:

  8. In the right pane, double-click the (Default) value.
  9. Delete the current value data and replace it with the correct value for your version of Windows.

    This value data varies with the version of Windows and, on some systems, the installation path. You may need to look at the same key on a working computer, which has the same version of Windows and configuration to determine this. The common value data are:
    • Windows 98: C:\Windows\Notepad.exe %
    • Windows NT and 2000: %SystemRoot%\system32\NOTEPAD.EXE %1
  10. Exit the Registry Editor.

Writeup By: Eric Chien