New Bagle Variant Heightens Alert Levels

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-07-16 Print this article Print

Submissions pour in to anti-virus companies, raising levels as the worm drops itself into the Windows system folder, sets Windows to load it at startup and begins sending copies of itself to harvested e-mail addresses.

A new variant on the Bagle worm has elicited increased alert levels from anti-virus companies owing to increased numbers of submissions, from both consumer and corporate clients. Known as W32/ to McAfee, WORM_BAGLE.AF to Trend Micro and W32.Beagle.AB@mm to Symantec, the new version is rated "medium on-watch" by McAfee and "category 3 - moderate" by Symantec.

Click here to read about another Bagle variant.
Symantec reported Friday morning that submissions were trending downward. "At its peak, our experts were tracking approximately 30 submissions per hour. However, now we are seeing the numbers trending down—about 10 submissions per hour. To date, Symantec has received a total of 264 submissions—57 from corporate users."

According to Trend Micros analysis of the worm, once executed, it drops a copy of itself in the Windows system folder and sets Windows to load it at startup. It uses an internal SMTP mail engine to send copies of itself to addresses that it harvests from a variety of files on the system. For insights on security coverage around the Web, check out Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog. The message may have one of a variety of subject lines and bodies and a spoofed from: address. It also spreads through networks, including peer-to-peer networks, but copying itself to shared folders.

Bagle.AF also attempts to stop running security software on the system and to interfere with copies of the Netsky virus. Finally, it opens up a back door on port 1080 for attackers to use on the system.

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Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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