Printer Friendly Page

Discovered: May 01, 2003
Updated: February 13, 2007 12:01:10 PM
Also Known As: Win32.Spreader [KAV], W32/Reader.worm [McAfee]
Type: Virus
Systems Affected: Windows

W32.HLLP.Spreda is a virus that prepends itself to files that are in the KaZaA download folder and whose extension is .exe. This threat is written in the Microsoft C++ programming language.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version May 02, 2003
  • Latest Rapid Release version May 02, 2003
  • Initial Daily Certified version May 02, 2003
  • Latest Daily Certified version May 02, 2003
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date May 07, 2003

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

Technical Description

When an infected file is executed, W32.HLLP.Spreda does the following:

  1. Locates the KaZaA download folder by examining the registry.
  2. Attempts to infect all .exe files that are in the KaZaA download folder whose file sizes 100 KB or greater. It does this by prepending its viral code to the host files. The file size increases by 409,600 bytes after infection.
  3. Creates the file Savenow??.exe in the Windows installation folder and runs it. Savenow??.exe is a copy of the original host file.

    NOTE: ?? represents 2 digits. For example, the file may be named Savenow00.exe.

The virus does not reinfect files. Other KaZaA users may download the infected files from the KaZaA download folder, which causes the virus to spread through the KaZaA file-sharing network.


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. Restart the computer in Safe mode.
  3. Run a full system scan, and repair all files that are detected as W32.HLLP.Spreda. Restore any non-repairable files from clean backup if necessary.

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. Read "How to update virus definition files using the Intelligent Updater" for detailed instructions.

2. Restarting the computer in Safe mode
All the Windows 32-bit operating systems, except Windows NT, can be restarted in Safe mode. For instructions on how to do this, read the document "How to start the computer in Safe Mode ."

3. Scanning for and repairing the infected files

Writeup By: Yana Liu