1. Symantec/
  2. Security Response/
  3. W32.Shadesrat


Risk Level 2: Low

February 22, 2011
February 22, 2011 2:17:39 PM
Trojan, Worm
Infection Length:
Systems Affected:
This worm may arrive on the computer at a location and using a file name specified by the attacker, for example:
%CurrentFolder%\[THREAT FILE NAME].exe

When the worm executes, it creates the following registry subkey:

Next, it modifies the following registry entry in order to add itself to the list of applications authorized by the Windows firewall:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\SharedAccess\Parameters\FirewallPolicy\StandardProfile\AuthorizedApplications\List\"%CurrentFolder%\[THREAT FILE NAME].exe" = "%CurrentFolder%\[THREAT FILE NAME].exe:*:Enabled:Windows Messanger"

The worm then connects to a remote location allowing an attacker to perform the following commands on the compromised computer:
  • Hijack the audio or video on the compromised computer
  • Inject itself into other running executable files
  • Perform DDOS attacks through UDP flooding
  • Record all keystrokes
  • Run as a proxy, redirecting an attackers traffic
  • Sniff network traffic
  • Upload or download files through HTTP and FTP

Next, the worm may steal passwords from the following applications:
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Pidgin

It may then search through the registry for a number of installed applications and steal passwords from these as well.

The remote attacker may attempt to spread the worm through the following file-sharing applications, if installed on the compromised computer:
  • Azureus
  • Limewire
  • Utorrent

The worm may also be instructed by the remote attacker to install its own BitTorrent application in order to spread to other computers.

It may also attempt to spread through instant messaging applications by dropping a link to itself in any active windows.


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: Gavin O'Gorman
Summary| Technical Details| Removal

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