New Worm Targets Microsoft Messenger Programs

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2003-03-12 Print this article Print

W32.Nicehello@mm worm attempts to steal MSN/.NET Messenger passwords

A new worm, distributed as a Windows .EXE file attachment to a mass email, is one of the first to involve Microsofts instant messenging programs in its exploit. Reports are somewhat in conflict on exactly what it does, but prevention and containment appear to be easy. The W32.Nicehello@mm worm shows up as a 99,328 byte attachment to an email with one of a small number of possible subject lines. The list of subject lines and file names for the attachment may be found at the description at the Symantec Antivirus Research Center (SARC). SARC goes on to say that the worm attempts to steal Microsoft MSN and .NET Messenger passwords. Symantec added this worm to their LiveUpdate virus definitions on 3/12/03.
Once executed, the program copies itelf to the Windows directory as "systemsys64dvr.exe" or "system32sys64dvr.exe" and creates the registry entry "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\System 64 Driver for Games" = "sys64drv.exe". You can check to see if you are infected by checking for these files, and manually disinfect your system by removing them. Windows NT/2K/XP users should also Terminate the process in Task Manager. Windows 95/98/ME users can remove it from memory by rebooting to safe mode.
According to a description at the BitDefender site, the program then sends a notification containing the users Messanger user name and password to a particular address. Then it sends infection messages to the users MSN/.NET Messengers contacts. SARC says that it sends itself to entries in the Windows Address Book, which is not the same thing. Because this file arrives as a .EXE attachment it will be blocked by any recent version of Microsoft Outlook or older versions with proper security patches installed. Of course, all users should be skeptical of file attachments, especially executable ones.
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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