New Bagle Variant Heightens Alert Levels

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.

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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.

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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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