W32.SillyP2P

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Discovered: December 08, 2003
Updated: April 30, 2010 5:19:41 PM
Type: Worm
Infection Length: Varies
Systems Affected: Windows

W32.SillyP2P is a detection name used by Symantec that detects variants of the W32.Silly family of worms that spread through peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing networks.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) applications and their user base began to grow rapidly amongst the Internet community in late 1990's as file-sharing became hugely popular. Downloading shared files was not only fast, it was free and files are freely shared amongst the network users. Several well-known P2P networks that are used to actively share files included the following:

  • BearShare
  • eDonkey2000
  • EMule
  • Gnutella
  • Kazaa
  • LimeWire

The scale of peer-to-peer network usage and copyright infringement diminished somewhat with the onset of several legal battles in the United States. Copyright infringement decisions soon influenced the way many users acquired music, videos and games files online. While file sharing in itself is not illegal, sharing specific types of files may be considered illegal depending on the current laws and the jurisdiction in which the user resides.

File-sharing was and still is definitely a "buyer" beware proposition given the legal implications of downloading potentially copyright materials. Aside from the legal issues, malware is often masqueraded as sought after files available for download within such networks adding another level of risk to the seemingly harmless act of file sharing.

These worms primarily use the P2P networks to spread. They do this by copying themselves into the shared folders of well known P2P applications. There they wait until a remote user requests a given file and then the worm file is offered for download.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version December 08, 2003
  • Latest Rapid Release version June 23, 2018 revision 023
  • Initial Daily Certified version December 08, 2003
  • Latest Daily Certified version June 24, 2018 revision 002
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date December 10, 2003

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

Writeup By: Angela Thigpen

Discovered: December 08, 2003
Updated: April 30, 2010 5:19:41 PM
Type: Worm
Infection Length: Varies
Systems Affected: Windows

W32.SillyP2P is a detection name used by Symantec that detects variants of the W32.Silly family of worms that spread through peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing networks.


Background Information
A trip to the record store used to be a much loved pastime, a shared activity with friends that began tapering with the emerging online file sharing movement. In late 1990's, with the increasing popularity of P2P networks, one just needed to connect to a favorite network and search for the desired file to have the latest music, game or video and share them with your friends. Peer-to-peer networks allowed users to share files by connecting to the P2P through the user interface. A user could share uploaded files and download desired files.

History has proven that there is a strong potential for inadvertently revealing personal and confidential information using peer-to-peer networks. Private files may inadvertently be moved into shared folders either by the user or deliberately by malware. In one news report , sensitive information from an investment firm was released, including information from high profile clients. The report also included a national security breach with the accidental release of sensitive information about the Marine One helicopter.

As P2P increased in popularity, it drew the attention of the media industry whose content was regularly shared - in most cases illegally. Litigation soon arose to determine if this type of file sharing infringed on copyright laws and with the ensuing decisions changed the landscape of legal downloads. These legal challenges, while changing the way many users acquired media online, haven't completely deterred P2P network usage due to the scale of the problem and the fact that file sharing itself is not illegal. The shared content may be considered illegal depending upon current laws and the jurisdiction in which the user resides.

Given the massive scale and reach of P2P networks, malware authors began taking advantage of the availability of the massive pool of users to spread their malicious files. Mostly masquerading their malware as music files, popular games and pornographic content. Using these kinds of lures, users could be easily enticed to download malicious files.


How is a P2P network structured?
Once a user connects to the network, files are made available through shared folders. The user generally searches for desired files or may search for specific keywords. The connected network member also shares resources, such as bandwidth as part of the cost of file sharing.


Who creates P2P worms?
This type of worm is created by malware authors in order to spread to as many computers as possible.


What can P2P worms do?
They can search for predetermined P2P application and copy themselves to specific shared folders or copy themselves to shared files in general thus spreading to other users in the network.



They may participate in Distributed Denial of Service attacks which are different from standard botnet-based attacks. A remote attacker does not need to communicate with subverted clients as with a botnet-based attack, but instead, acts as a coordinator, instructing clients of large P2P file sharing hubs to disconnect from the network and connect to the intended target.

The worms can drop or download additional malware on to the computer and are also capable of stealing confidential information such as by copying files into a shared folder for remote access.


Are there any tell-tale signs?
These worms usually will have no obvious tell-tale signs as they are generally designed for stealth. Users may notice that a file downloaded through a P2P network may not run as expected or the content may not match the file name. This may be a sign that the user has downloaded a P2P worm or other malware.

In addition, users may notice files in the shared folders that they may not have been aware of previously. Many P2P worms may create copies of themselves in shared folders using enticing file names, they may also copy user files into the shared folders. If the user did not deliberately place these files in the shared folders or they see files or folders that they do not recognize, these could be indicators of the presence of a P2P worm.


What are the risks?
The potential damage caused by these worms may range from minor disruption such as performance degradation and resource usage through to the loss of confidential information, the latter of which can have a much more serious consequences for the user.

P2P worms are still active and any searches on P2P networks today are likely to return malicious software disguised as sought after files. The one mitigating factor limiting the speed and scale of the spread of P2P worms is that their propagation method is limited by the fact that they follow a user-pull model of distribution. That is, the end user has to choose to (inadvertently) download the malware file. Therefore the successful propagation of a P2P worm is a function of many factors including the social engineering trick used (file names), the size of the active user base of the targeted P2P network and also the ability of the worm to run undetected on user computers.

With the inherent risk of inadvertently downloading malware and leaking of sensitive information, users should exercise caution when using P2P networks.


What can I do to minimize the risks?
As a general rule, users should always run up-to-date antivirus software with real-time protection such as Norton Antivirus, Norton Internet Security, Norton 360 or Symantec Endpoint Protection . In addition, a firewall -- or better still, an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) -- will help to block back channel activities initiated by these types of malicious programs. Program controls such as those found in Symantec Endpoint Protection can also help to prevent unknown programs such as these from executing in the first place.


How can I find out more?
Advanced users can submit a sample to Threat Expert to obtain a detailed report of the system and file system changes caused by a threat.

Recommendations

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: Angela Thigpen

Discovered: December 08, 2003
Updated: April 30, 2010 5:19:41 PM
Type: Worm
Infection Length: Varies
Systems Affected: Windows

You may have arrived at this page either because you have been alerted by your Symantec product about this risk, or you are concerned that your computer has been affected by this risk.

Before proceeding further we recommend that you run a full system scan . If that does not resolve the problem you can try one of the options available below.



FOR NORTON USERS
If you are a Norton product user, we recommend you try the following resources to remove this risk.

Removal Tool


If you have an infected Windows system file, you may need to replace them using from the Windows installation CD .


How to reduce the risk of infection
The following resources provide further information and best practices to help reduce the risk of infection.


FOR BUSINESS USERS
If you are a Symantec business product user, we recommend you try the following resources to remove this risk.

Identifying and submitting suspect files
Submitting suspicious files to Symantec allows us to ensure that our protection capabilities keep up with the ever-changing threat landscape. Submitted files are analyzed by Symantec Security Response and, where necessary, updated definitions are immediately distributed through LiveUpdate™ to all Symantec end points. This ensures that other computers nearby are protected from attack. The following resources may help in identifying suspicious files for submission to Symantec.


Removal Tool

If you have an infected Windows system file, you may need to replace them using from the Windows installation CD .


How to reduce the risk of infection
The following resource provides further information and best practices to help reduce the risk of infection.
Protecting your business network



MANUAL REMOVAL
The following instructions pertain to all current Symantec antivirus products.

1. Performing a full system scan
How to run a full system scan using your Symantec product


2. Restoring settings in the registry
Many risks make modifications to the registry, which could impact the functionality or performance of the compromised computer. While many of these modifications can be restored through various Windows components, it may be necessary to edit the registry. See in the Technical Details of this writeup for information about which registry keys were created or modified. Delete registry subkeys and entries created by the risk and return all modified registry entries to their previous values.

Writeup By: Angela Thigpen