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Latest CodeRed variant lacks built in obsolescence

Same old tricks with moderate-to-low risk worm

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Eighteen months after Code Red wormed its way through insecure Microsoft IIS Web Servers, yet another variant has found its way onto the Internet.

CodeRed-F most closely resembles Code Red II, differing by only two bytes. This change means CodeRed-F is liable to spread indefinetly unlike CodeRed II, which was programmed to stop spreading at the end of 2002. An advisory by Finnish AV specialist F-Secure explains this point in more detail.

The original CodeRed had a payload that causes a Denial of Service attack on the White House Web server. CodeRed-F (like CodeRed II) has a different payload that allows the hacker to have full remote access to the Web server.

All the CodeRed worms use a "buffer overflow" exploit to propagate through vulnerable Microsoft IIS Web servers.

Admins running IIS are strongly urged to apply a cummulative patch to guard against this, and other similar risks.

AV vendors rate CodeRed-F as only a moderate to low-risk worm, largely because the number of vulnerable IIS Web Servers is much reduced since the original outbreak of CodeRed and Nimda (which also spread using the same exploit).

Advisories on CodeRed-F from McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro provide further information. ®

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