1. Symantec/
  2. Security Response/
  3. W32.Goner.A@mm


Risk Level 2: Low

December 4, 2001
February 13, 2007 11:41:08 AM
Also Known As:
I-Worm.Goner [Kaspersky], W32/Goner@MM [McAfee], WORM_GONER.A [Trend], W32/Goner-A [Sophos], Win32.Goner.A [Computer Associ
Systems Affected:

This attachment will not be executed by viewing the message in the preview pane. The attachment must be executed to begin delivering its payload. Upon execution, W32.Goner.A@mm starts by displaying the following window.

In the background, the worm sends itself to all addresses in the the Microsoft Outlook address book. The email appears as follows.

The worm has been packed using a known Portable Executable (PE) packer. The size of the unpacked worm is approximately 159 KB.

The worm adds the value

C:\%SYSTEM%\gone.scr C:\%SYSTEM%\gone.scr

to the registry key


    • %SYSTEM% is the path to the Windows System folder. In most cases this would be C:\Windows\System; however, the location could be different if the Windows System folder has been installed to a different location.
    • The value is the same as the value as the name of the file (the value data) that is being called.

Once the registry key has been added, the worm will attempt to terminate the processes of common anti-virus and firewall products. The files that it attempts to terminat are as follows:
  • Aplica32.exe
  • Avconsol.exe
  • Avp.exe
  • Avp32.exe
  • Avpcc.exe
  • Avpm.exe
  • Cfiadmin.exe
  • Cfiaudit.exe
  • Cfinet32.exe
  • Esafe.exe
  • Frw.exe
  • Icload95.exe
  • Icloadnt.exe
  • Icmon.exe
  • Icsupp95.exe
  • Icsuppnt.exe
  • Lockdown2000.exe
  • Navapw32.exe
  • Navw32.exe
  • Pcfwallicon.exe
  • Safeweb.exe
  • Tds2-98.exe
  • Tds2-Nt.exe
  • Vsecomr.exe
  • Vshwin32.exe
  • Vsstat.exe
  • Webscanx.exe
  • Zonealarm.exe
  • _Avp32.exe
  • _Avpcc.exe
  • _Avpm.exe

NOTE: Some anti-virus vendors have reported that the file iamapp.exe will have its process terminated. This is not correct.. Symantec Security Response has verified that the iamapp.exe process is not terminated by Goner, nor is the file deleted.

If such a process is found, the worm will delete the executable file and all files contained within the same folder and subfolders where the given file resides. If the files are in use and cannot be deleted, the file %SYSTEM%\Wininit.ini is created, and is used to delete the files when the computer restarts.

NOTE: On Windows NT/2000/XP computers, the files are deleted by using the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager

where the files to be deleted are present in the value


W32.Goner.A@mm is capable of spreading over the ICQ network. If ICQ is installed on an infected computer, the worm will do the following:
  1. Check for the version of the ICQ .dll file that contains the APIs that will be used. If the correct version is found, the worm proceeds.
  2. Retrieve a list of all "buddies" who are currently online.
  3. Retrieve information about each user individually. This information is required to be able to send files.
  4. Send itself to all users on the list.

If mIRC is installed, this worm can insert scripts into the mIRC folder. This allows the computer to be used in DoS attacks. Currently, the IRC channel used for controlling the worm has been blocked by IRC Operators. This will prevent usage of infected systems in a DoS attack.

Finally, the worm displays the following fake error message:


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: Neal Hindocha
Summary| Technical Details| Removal

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