1. Symantec/
  2. Security Response/
  3. VBS.Stages.A


Risk Level 2: Low

June 16, 2000
February 13, 2007 11:59:32 AM
Also Known As:
Bloodhound.VBS.Worm, IRC/Stages.worm [McAfee], VBS/Stages.gen@MM [McAfee], Life_Stages Worm, I-Worm.Scrapworm [Kaspersky], VBS_STAGES.A [Trend], VBS/Stages-A [Sophos], VBS.Stages [Computer Associate
Systems Affected:

The worm sends an email to addresses listed in your Microsoft Outlook address book. The email contains the LIFE_STAGES.TXT.SHS attachment.
The subject of the email is randomly generated and can be one of twelve strings. In some, but not all cases, the subject begins with "Fw:" It will, in any case, contain one of the following:
  • Life stages
  • Funny
  • Jokes

In some cases, this is followed by the word "text." The following are examples of possible subject headings:
  • Fw: Life stages
  • Jokes text
  • Fw: Funny text

As soon as they are sent, the worm deletes copies of the messages so that there is no record of its presence.

Upon executing this worm, your system is modified as follows:
  • The following files are created in the Windows\System folder:
    • Scanreg.vbs
    • Vbaset.olb
    • Msinfo16.tlb
  • The Scanreg.vbs value is added to the following registry key:


    This will run the next time the computer is started.
  • The Life_Stages.txt.shs file is created in the \Windows folder.
  • A randomly named file is added to the following locations:
    • The root directory of all mapped drives
    • The \My Documents folder.
    • The \Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder.
    This randomly named file is created using the format Random 1+ Random 2 + Random 3.txt.shs where:
    • Random 1= Important, Info, Report, Secret, or Unknown
    • Random 2 = - or _ (hyphen or underscore)
    • Random 3 = a random number between 1 and 1000

      For example, Report_439.txt.shs or Important-707.txt.shs.
  • The Regedit.exe file is moved into the Recycle Bin as a hidden system file named Recycled.vxd.
  • The following files are added to the Recycle Bin as hidden system files:
    • Msrcycld.dat
    • Rcycldbn.dat
    • Dbindex.vbs
      Msrycld.dat is a copy of the original .shs file. Rcycldbn.dat is a copy of the Scanreg.vbs file. Dbindex.vbs is set to be run when ICQ is run. The script for mIRC is modified to call the Sound32b.dll file, which causes the worm to spread through mIRC and PIRCH.


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: Brian Ewell
Summary| Technical Details| Removal

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