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Discovered: October 24, 2003
Updated: February 13, 2007 12:12:36 PM
Also Known As: Worm.P2P.Delf.k [Kaspersky]
Type: Worm
Systems Affected: Windows

W32.HLLW.Reckus is a worm that spreads through peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, such as KaZaA, Morpheus, and WinMX. It overwrites Notepad.exe and Regedit.exe with copies of itself and terminates antivirus and firewall processes.

The existence of C:\Windows\LOL.exe is a sign of possible infection.

This worm is written in Delphi and is packed with UPX.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version October 27, 2003
  • Latest Rapid Release version August 20, 2008 revision 017
  • Initial Daily Certified version October 27, 2003
  • Latest Daily Certified version August 20, 2008 revision 016
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date October 29, 2003

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

Writeup By: Heather Shannon

Discovered: October 24, 2003
Updated: February 13, 2007 12:12:36 PM
Also Known As: Worm.P2P.Delf.k [Kaspersky]
Type: Worm
Systems Affected: Windows

When W32.HLLW.Reckus is executed, it performs the following actions:

  1. Copies itself to the following hard-coded locations as the following files:
    • C:\Windows
      • LOL.exe
      • Notepad.exe
      • Regedit.exe

        Note: The worm overwrites the legitimate applications, Notepad and Regedit, if they are found in this location.

    • C:\Windows\System32
      • Progman.exe
      • Shutdown32.exe
      • Userinit.exe
      • Winsys32.exe

    • C:\Windows\System32\Shared, C:\Program Files\WinMX\My Shared Folder, and C:\My Downloads
      • Alcohol 120 keygen.exe
      • Battlefield 1942 keygen.exe
      • BlackICE PC Protection 3.5 keygen.exe
      • BlindWrite crack (all versions).exe
      • Briana Banks (screensaver).exe
      • Britney spears DressUp Doll.exe
      • Britney Spears NUDE (screensaver).exe
      • Carmen Electra NUDE (screensaver).exe
      • DC++ ShareFaker.exe
      • Delphi 7 Enterprise keygen.exe
      • Dransik character editor.exe
      • Dransik classic account unlocker.exe
      • Everquest 2 NoCD crack.exe
      • GTA Vice City Universal NoCD patch.exe
      • Half-Life keygen.exe
      • Imesh No-Adverts.exe
      • Jedi Academy keygen.exe
      • KAV Personal Pro crack & keygen.exe
      • Kazaa AD-remover.exe
      • Kazaa Speedup 3.05.exe
      • KMD 2.1.exe
      • Krystal Steel (screensaver).exe
      • Lavasoft Ad-Aware 6 keygen.exe
      • Lavasoft Ad-aware 6 pro keygen.exe
      • Matrix Code Emulator Screensaver.exe
      • Microsoft Visual C++ keygen.exe
      • Mirc 6.03 serial generator.exe
      • MusicMatch JukeBox 8.0 keygen.exe
      • Nero Burning Rom (5.X + 6.X) keygen.exe
      • Norton Anti-Virus 2003 crack.exe
      • Norton Anti-Virus 2003 keygen.exe
      • Norton Anti-Virus 2004 crack.exe
      • Norton Anti-Virus 2004 keygen.exe
      • Norton Internet Security crack.exe
      • Office XP keygen.exe
      • Panda Anti-Virus Titanium keygen.exe
      • Playstation 2 emulator.exe
      • PopUp Killer crack (all versions).exe
      • Retina vulnerability scan keygen.exe
      • Runescape character editor.exe
      • Sophie Sweet (screensaver).exe
      • Tawny Roberts (screensaver).exe
      • Tiny Personal Firewall 5.0 crack.exe
      • UT 2003 keygen.exe
      • Vietcong keygen.exe
      • Visual Basic 6 keygen.exe
      • Visual Studio keygen.exe
      • Warcraft III Reign Of Chaos 1.0X Virtual Crack.exe
      • Window Washer 4.8 keygen.exe
      • Windows XP activation crack.exe
      • WinRAR keygen (all versions).exe
      • WinZip keygen (all versions).exe

        Note: C:\Windows, C:\Windows\System32, and C:\Windows\System32\Shared are created if they do not already exist.

  2. Creates the following non-viral files in C:\Windows:
    • Winbfkey.txt
    • Winhelp.txt
    • Winkey.txt
    • Winutkey.txt

  3. Adds the value:


    to the registry key:


    so that the worm runs when you start Windows.

  4. Creates a script.ini file in the following folders, if they exist:
    • C:\Program Files\mIRC
    • C:\Program Files\NoNameScript
    • C:\Scoop2003
    • C:\Program Files\FinnishIRC XP
    • C:\Sentinel4
    • C:\Program Files\Gamers.IRC
    • C:\evolution
    • C:\mIRC

      The script contains commands that will automatically send messages to other IRC users. The messages consist of links to various Web sites, some of which may contain malicious code.

  5. Attempts to steal CD keys for various games.

  6. Deletes the following files, if they exist:
    • C:\Windows\Cmd.exe
    • C:\Windows\System32\Taskman.exe
    • C:\Windows\System32\Taskmgr.exe
    • C:\Windows\System32\Regedt32.exe
    • C:\Windows\System32\Regsvr32.exe
    • C:\Windows\System32\Autochk.exe
    • C:\Windows\System32\Chkntfs.exe
    • C:\Windows\System32\Chkdsk.exe
    • C:\Windows\System32\Shutdown.exe

  7. Changes the Internet Explorer home page to point to a pornographic Web site.

  8. Enters an infinite loop. Every 10 seconds, the worm terminates antivirus and firewall processes, and re-copies itself as C:\Windows\System32\Winsys32.exe.


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: Heather Shannon

Discovered: October 24, 2003
Updated: February 13, 2007 12:12:36 PM
Also Known As: Worm.P2P.Delf.k [Kaspersky]
Type: Worm
Systems Affected: Windows

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

Note: If W32.HLLW.Reckus has already run, it is possible that you will no longer be able to start Windows. The damage that W32.HLLW.Reckus does will vary with both the operating system and the installation path.

Even if you can start Windows, once it has run, you may no longer be able to edit the registry as required to remove the changes made to the registry files.

In this situation, you must replace the deleted files and the Windows Registry Editor, either from a clean backup or by re-installing the operating system.

Once you have restored the deleted or overwritten system files, follow all the removal instructions.

  1. Disable System Restore (Windows Me/XP).
  2. Update the virus definitions.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • Windows 95/98/Me: Restart the computer in Safe mode.
    • Windows NT/2000/XP: End the Trojan process.
  4. Run a full system scan and delete all the files detected as W32.HLLW.Reckus.
  5. Reverse the changes that the Trojan made to the registry.
For details on each of these steps, read the following instructions.

1. Disabling System Restore (Windows Me/XP)
If you are running Windows Me or Windows XP, we recommend that you temporarily turn off System Restore. Windows Me/XP uses this feature, which is enabled by default, to restore the files on your computer in case they become damaged. If a virus, worm, or Trojan infects a computer, System Restore may back up the virus, worm, or Trojan on the computer.

Windows prevents outside programs, including antivirus programs, from modifying System Restore. Therefore, antivirus programs or tools cannot remove threats in the System Restore folder. As a result, System Restore has the potential of restoring an infected file on your computer, even after you have cleaned the infected files from all the other locations.

Also, a virus scan may detect a threat in the System Restore folder even though you have removed the threat.

For instructions on how to turn off System Restore, read your Windows documentation, or one of the following articles:
Note: When you are completely finished with the removal procedure and are satisfied that the threat has been removed, re-enable System Restore by following the instructions in the aforementioned documents.

For additional information, and an alternative to disabling Windows Me System Restore, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article, "Antivirus Tools Cannot Clean Infected Files in the _Restore Folder," Article ID: Q263455.

2. 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.

3. Restarting the computer in Safe mode or ending the Trojan process
    Windows 95/98/Me
    Restart the computer in Safe mode. All the Windows 32-bit operating systems, except for Windows NT, can be restarted in Safe mode. For instructions, read the document, "How to start the computer in Safe Mode."

    Windows NT/2000/XP
    To end the Trojan process:
    1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete once.
    2. Click Task Manager.
    3. Click the Processes tab.
    4. Double-click the Image Name column header to alphabetically sort the processes.
    5. Scroll through the list and look for WinSys32.exe.
    6. If you find the file, click it, and then click End Process.
    7. Exit the Task Manager.
4. 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.Reckus, click Delete.

5. Reversing the changes made to the registry

NOTE: Because this worm overwrites regedit.exe, it will be necessary to restore this file from a backup copy before performing this step.

WARNING: 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:


  5. Exit the Registry Editor.

Writeup By: Heather Shannon