Feeds

MSN Messenger worm entices the unwary

Draws victims to malicious Web site

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

A relatively benign but effective Internet worm attacked users of Microsoft's MSN Messenger service Wednesday by exploiting a bug in Internet Explorer that was reported last year, but was only recently patched by Microsoft.

Dubbed the 'Cool Worm' by an early discoverer, the worm arrives as an MSN instant message that reads, "Go To http://www.masenko-media.net/cool.html NoW !!!" Clicking on the link opens a Web page with malicious Javascript code that rifles through the victim's MSN Contacts list, then messages every contact with the same "Go To..." invitation. The code also sends e-mail to the address mmargae@wanadoo.nl.

"It ripped through the office," says Drew Smith, network administrator at an online gaming firm that was hit Wednesday afternoon. Smith, the first to report the worm to security mailing lists, says his twenty person office was completely saturated within thirty seconds. "We're in a support office, so everyone sits in front of a computer. Most of the time everyone is bored, so they're going to click on it. It's going to go straight through everyone."

The malicious Web site was no longer operating Wednesday night, but another version of the worm was still spreading in the wild. This second variety arrives marked "URGENT" and refers victims to a Web site hosted by a Belgium ISP, with a URL ending in "dark.angel/cool.htm". That site was still operating at press time.

The Cool Worm spreads through the Microsoft Internet Explorer Same Origin Policy Violation vulnerability, reported by a security researcher called "ThePull" on December 19th, which went unacknowledged and unrepaired by Microsoft for months.

Microsoft's reluctance to acknowledge the bug was criticized by many in the security community. Last week, in what they described as an effort to spur Redmond to action, security gurus Tom Gilder and Thor Larholm released a demonstration of how a properly crafted Web page could exploit the unpatched bug to take over a user's MSN Messenger program. The example code was not a worm, but may have inspired the Cool Worm's author.

"This example has been made public to put pressure on MS to patch their vulnerabilities, that they are fully aware of," Gilder wrote.

Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability on Monday. Installing the patch reportedly blocks the Cool Worm.

© 2002 SecurityFocus.com, all rights reserved.

Related Stories

IE bug allows full MSN Messenger hijack
MS issues monster IE security fix

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.