New Bagle Variant Raises Alarms

By Larry Seltzer  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Anti-virus companies have elevated the threat level for the latest version of the persistent worm.

A new variant of the Bagle worm is showing more prevalence than usual, according to anti-virus companies.

The new version is known by a variety of names: McAfee Inc. calls it Bagle.az, Trend Micro Inc. has dubbed it Bagle.AM and Symantec Corp. refers to it as Beagle.AR. All three companies have elevated the threat level for this worm because of increased submissions to their monitoring services compared with the average Bagle variant.

Click here to find out why security researchers are puzzled by Bagle's success.

All the major companies offer protection against the worm. Symantec also has a removal tool.

Many e-mail programs, including Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express will, in the default configuration, delete the infected executable attachment to the e-mail message in which the worm arrives.

According to Trend Micro's description, the message comes from a spoofed address. The subject line is either "Re: Hi!," "Re: Thank you!," or "Re: Thanks :)," and the message body is always ":))." The message comes with an attachment with a file name of "Joke" or "Price," which has an extension of either ".com," ".cpl," ".exe," or ".scr."

Once the user runs the executable, it drops a copy of itself in the user's Windows System folder and sets Windows to load it when the computer boots up.

The worm attempts to propagate by copying itself to shared folders for LANs and peer-to-peer networks, and through a conventional e-mail distribution using a built-in SMTP engine. It attempts to terminate a large number of security-related programs, such as anti-virus software.

In keeping with Bagle tradition, it also attempts to interfere with the Netsky worm by removing several registry keys used by Netsky and creating mutexes, which are variables in the operating system that Netsky checks for.

Check out eWEEK.com's Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer's Weblog.

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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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