Yet Another Bagle Variant Spreading Quickly

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-03-26 Print this article Print

Bagle.U message has no subject line or body. Anti-virus companies are on elevated alert.

Yet another variant of the Bagle worm has hit the Internet. Anti-virus companies say it is spreading quickly and have given it an elevated alert status. Bagle.U (Beagle.U in Symantecs dictionary) is a very simple worm. The e-mail message in which it arrives has no subject line or body. The attachment has a randomized file name with an .EXE extension. The user must launch the executable.

Many e-mail clients, including all recent versions of Microsoft Corp.s Outlook and Outlook Express strip all .EXE attachments, so those users will be protected against Bagle.U.

The Norman analysis of the worm states that when a user does receive and launch the executable, it places a copy of itself, named GIGABIT.EXE, in the %SysDir% directory (%SysDir% is a system variable usually equivalent to C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM or something similar). It also sets a registry key to launch that program when the system starts.

According to McAfees description of the worm, it also creates the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Windows2004 key and places two values, "fr1n" and "gsed," within it.

Panda Software states that the worm also creates a backdoor on TCP port 4751, meaning that it listens on that port for external commands. It also attempts to connect to the script at, presumably to notify someone of the infection. Finally, it launches the program MSHEARTS.EXE, a card game that comes standard with Windows.

Bagle.U will stop running after Jan. 1, 2005.

Even though it contains none of the innovations in other recent worms, all of the major anti-virus companies have classified this worm as an elevated threat, and Panda has classified it as a "High" threat due to the extent of spreading.

Ken Dunham, director of Malicious Code for iDefense Inc., believes that the initial successful spread of the worm comes from a more widespread seeding of the worm. This refers to the initial choice of worm recipients by the worms author.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include information from Ken Dunham.

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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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