Palyh Worm: What You Need to Know

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2003-05-20 Print this article Print

The latest buzz on the worm wire is Palyh, a.k.a. Mankx, a.k.a. Sobig.B. It does very little that hasn't been done by dozens of other Windows mass-mail

The latest buzz on the worm wire is Palyh, a.k.a. Mankx, a.k.a. Sobig.B. It does very little that hasnt been done by dozens of other Windows mass-mailer worms (it also spreads to network shares, if available), but it did spread very rapidly. I received a couple copies of it myself in e-mail before the new virus definitions came out. The payload for this worm is an executable attachment that you have to launch, and Outlook has stripped these for years. Heres what you need to know: This worm comes in a message with a From: address of In case you didnt know, its easy to spoof the from: address, and like everything else you read, you should be skeptical of it. The message has one of nine innocuous sounding subject lines (so far Ive received "Re: Approved (Ref: 3394-65467)", "Re: My details", "Your details", and "Re: Movie"). The body of the message is "All information is in the attached file." The attachment has a .PIF extension which is an executable. If you do get infected, the program attempts to spread itself and to download files from a series of Geocities web pages. Its easy for me to say that you shouldnt just trust attachments, even from addresses you trust, but thats basically the case.
In case you do get infected, you can find manual removal instructions on Symantecs Sobig.B page.
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.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel