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Discovered: November 12, 2003
Updated: February 13, 2007 12:13:46 PM
Also Known As: I-Worm.Alanis (KAV), W32/Generic.worm!p2p (McAfee)
Type: Worm
Systems Affected: Windows

W32.HLLW.Sinala@mm is a worm that spreads by mass mailing and peer-to-peer file sharing. It modifies the registry keys and may not allow access to the system registry itself.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version November 13, 2003
  • Latest Rapid Release version September 28, 2010 revision 054
  • Initial Daily Certified version November 13, 2003
  • Latest Daily Certified version September 28, 2010 revision 036
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date November 17, 2003

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

Technical Description

W32.HLLW.Sinala@mm is written in Visual Basic and is packed.

When this worm runs, it performs the following actions:

  1. Sets itself to run as a process.

  2. Copies itself to the following locations:
    • a:\axebah.exe
    • a:\BadboysII.scr
    • a:\piratas.scr
    • a:\ring.exe
    • %System%\Cleanmgr.mcg
    • %System%\freesoft.avi.scr
    • %System%\kerneldll32.api
    • %System%\mope.scr
    • %Windir%\Cleanmgr.mcg
    • %Windir%\molani.scr


      -- %System% is a variable. The worm locates the System folder and copies itself to that location. By default, this is C:\Windows\System (Windows 95/98/Me), C:\Winnt\System32 (Windows NT/2000), or C:\Windows\System32 (Windows XP).

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

  3. Creates HTML files that contain a MIME-encoded version of the executable. They drop a copy of the executable as %Windir%\downloaded program files\Alanis.exe. This folder and the files in it have their attributes set as System, Read Only, and Hidden.

    Symantec antivirus products already detect the HTML files as Trojan.Sefex. The file names are:
    • C:\mis documentos\alanis.html
    • C:\mis documentos\avril.html
    • C:\mis documentos\evan.html
    • C:\mis documentos\nemo.html
    • C:\mis documentos\pamelaXXX.html
    • C:\alanis.html
    • C:\avril.html
    • C:\evan.html
    • C:\nemo.html
    • C:\pamelaXXX.html

  4. Creates the file, C:\tazmania.txt, which may contain the string "demionklaz@hotmail.com."

  5. Adds the value:

    "w32alanis" = "mope.scr"

    to the registry key:


    so that the worm runs when you start Windows.

  6. Disables access to the system registry by adding the key:


    with a Dword value of 0x00000001.

  7. Creates the registry keys:



    These keys allow the execution with files that have .mcg extensions and that the worm dropped.

  8. Adds itself to System.ini by modifying the shell= line in the [boot] section as follows:


    so that the worm runs when you start Windows 95/98/Me.

  9. Attempts to mail itself to all the contacts in the Microsoft Outlook Address Book, using the format:

    Subject. The title of the message contains one of the following words:

    hay te envio el video que me pediste ta buenazo este es el video verdad espero que sea de tu agrado espero que te guste a mi me gsuto :pel grupo esta buenazo muy buen video Baile paso a paso aprendera a bailar rapido Nuevos pasos viva la musica espero que te guste los nuevos pasos

    Attachment: %sysdir%\freesoft.avi.scr

  10. Locates the following file-sharing program folders:

    C:\ARCHIV~1\Grokster\My Grokster
    C:\Program Files\WinMX\My Shared Folder
    C:\archiv~1\WinMX\My Shared Folder
    C:\Program Files\KaZaA\My Shared Folder
    C:\ARCHIV~1\KaZaA\My Shared Folder
    C:\Program Files\Grokster\My Grokster
    C:\Program Files\Morpheus\My Shared Folder
    C:\archiv~1\Morpheus\My Shared Folder
    C:\Program Files\ICQ\shared files
    C:\archiv~1\ICQ\shared files
    C:\Program Files\Edonkey2000\incoming
    C:\Program Files\KaZaA Lite\My Shared Folder
    C:\archiv~1\KaZaA Lite\My Shared Folder

    If the folder exists, the worm will copy itself as one or more of the following file names:

    alanis morri.mcg
    avril lavig.mcg


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. Disable System Restore (Windows Me/XP).
  2. Update the virus definitions.
  3. Run a full system scan and delete all the files detected as W32.HLLW.Sinala@mm.
  4. Delete the value that was added to the registry.
  5. Repair the System.ini file.
For specific 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. 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.Sinala@mm, click Delete.

4. Deleting the values and keys from the registry

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.

This is a two-step process. Before repairing the registry, you must first re-enable the registry tools.

Part 1
  1. Click Start, then Run. (The Run dialog box appears.)

  2. Type:


    and then click OK. (Notepad opens a text file.)

  3. Type, or copy and paste, the following text into the text file:



  4. Save the file as:


    in the root folder (usually C:\)

  5. Click Start, and then click Run.

  6. Type:

    regedit -s \repair.reg

    and then click OK. This allows you to edit the registry.

Part 2
  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:

    "w32alanis" = "mope.scr"

  5. Navigate to and delete the key:


  6. Navigate to and delete the key:


  7. Exit the Registry Editor.

5. Repairing the System.in file
If you are running Windows 95/98/Me, follow these steps:
  1. The function you perform depends on your operating system:
    • Windows 95/98: Go to step B.
    • Windows Me: If you are running Windows Me, the Windows Me file-protection process may have made a backup copy of the System.ini file that you need to edit. If this backup copy exists, it will be in the C:\Windows\Recent folder. Symantec recommends that you delete this file before continuing with the steps in this section. To do this:
      1. Start Windows Explorer.
      2. Browse to and select the C:\Windows\Recent folder.
      3. In the right pane, select the System.ini file and delete it. Windows will regenerate the System.ini file.

  2. Click Start, and then click Run.
  3. Type the following, and then click OK.

    edit c:\windows\system.ini

    (The MS-DOS Editor opens.)

    NOTE: If Windows is installed in a different location, make the appropriate path substitution.

  4. In the [boot] section of the file, look for a line similar to:

    shell = Explorer.exe C:\WINDOWS\Cleanmgr.mcg

  5. If this line exists, delete everything to the right of Explorer.exe.

    When you are done, it should look like:

    shell = Explorer.exe

  6. Click File, and then click Save.
  7. Click File, and then click Exit.

Writeup By: Maryl Magee