Feeds

Bot spreads using latest Windows flaw

Update warning

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Security firms reiterated advice to companies and home users to patch their Windows systems, after a bot program was detected last week that used a recently fixed flaw to compromise computers.

The bot has reportedly not spread very widely, according to advisories posted by Microsoft, Symantec, and security firm LURHQ, which labelled the program Graweg, Wargbot and Mocbot, respectively (Symantec is the parent company of SecurityFocus.)

The bot, and a second variant, appear to use the Windows Server service flaw (MS06-040) to spread to computers that have not yet been patched for the issue. Microsoft fixed the flaw two weeks ago.

"So far, this appears to be an extremely targeted attack, very much unlike what we have seen in the past with recent Internet-wide worms," Stephen Toulouse, security program manager for Microsoft, wrote on the company's security response centre blog.

"In fact, our initial investigation reveals this isn't a worm in the 'autospreading' classic sense, and it appears to target Windows 2000. Very few customers appear to be impacted, and we want to stress that if you have the MS06-040 update installed you are not affected."

While remotely exploitable flaws in operating-system components that handle network data have historically led to worms, such fast spreading threats have become far more rare in recent years, as virus and worm writers instead use such weaknesses to compromise systems for profit.

The favoured tool has become bot programs - software that infects computers by exploiting vulnerabilities or by using social engineering to convince the user to execute the program and then surreptitiously allows the attacker to control the computer or capture sensitive data from the system.

Security experts and even the US Department of Homeland Security advised companies to patch their system for the Windows Server service flaw, warning that the vulnerability was already being used to exploit systems.

Security firm eEye Digital Security reiterated the warning.

"I hope people are taking this as another big red flag warning to hurry up and patch their systems," Marc Maiffret, chief technology officer for eEye, said in a statement emailed to SecurityFocus.

The Internet Storm Centre, a website that publicly tracks port-scanning attempts and other security incidents, reported that many of its contributors had started noticing a large increase in scans for the Windows Server service flaw.

The two variants of the bot program also appear to spread using America Online instant messaging client to send links from where the program will be downloaded, according to the analysis by LURHQ. The bot, which LURHQ refers to as Mocbot, compromises PCs and then awaits commands from a network of computers, most of which appear to be based in China.

One version of the bot program runs on a compromised system as wgareg.exe and creates a service to run at startup called the Windows Genuine Advantage Registration Service, while the other variant runs as wgavm.exe naming itself the Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Monitor.

This article originally appeared in Security Focus.

Copyright © 2006, SecurityFocus

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?