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Security Protection - Harry Waldron (CS)

Security Best Practices, Breaking News, & Updates

February 2005 - Posts

Article - Keeping your Organization's Security Current

This article shares a number of ideas, shortcuts, and approaches to help in managing the complex and challenging environment related to IT security.

Article - Keeping your Organization's Security Current

Key points covered in the article
Reexamine security philosophy
Check Your Network for Known Weaknesses
Attend A Security Training Event
Key Shortcuts to make the job easier

Mytob A/B/C variants - MyDoom and Spybot combination

 This new email threat could be highly disruptive in a network of unpatched Windows workstations or servers.  It is a two part virus that spreads first by email using the MyDoom virus and then launches a Spybot variant in the internal network that would try to spread by the MS04-011 LSASS exploit on port 435. 

Mytob A/B/C variants - MyDoom and Spybot combination

W32.Mytob.@mm is a mass-mailing worm that uses it own SMTP engine to send an email to addresses that it gathers from the Windows Address Book on the compromised computer. The worm also has the ability to open a back door and spread through the network by exploiting the Microsoft Windows Local Security Authority Service Remote Buffer Overflow (described in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS04-011).


From: Spoofed

Subject of email:
Mail Transaction Failed
Mail Delivery System
(No Subject)
(random alphabets)

Name of attachment:
Varies with a .bat, .cmd, .exe, .pif, .scr, or .zip file extension

Elitper.A - Pretends to be a patch from Microsoft
So far, this new virus is not widespread and it's easy to avoid through best practices. Microsoft never sends updates by email as users must download them from their website. Attachments should never be opened unless you are certain they are safe.

Elitper.A - Pretends to be a patch from Microsoft
W32.Elitper.A@mm is a mass-mailing worm that spreads using MAPI and through file-sharing networks. It also lowers Windows security settings by altering the Hosts file to prevent access to antivirus-related Web sites.

Subject: Fwd:None
Message Body: Microsoft(c) Lastest Update For CD-ROM
Attachment: Firewall.exe
Size of attachment: 9,392 bytes
February 2005 - An active month for new virus developments

ISC Logo

The Internet Storm Center shares that February 2005 was a very active month for new variants and worm developments.  Almost 100 new viruses were categorized as “2“ or higher by Symantec

Quote: This has been a record week for new virus discovery - at least for me. We yet again saw an infiltration of new activity at one location here in our local area. In looking at todays list on Symantec's web site, in the last week there have been 24 new entries that are rated as a Level 2. In the last month there have been close to 100 new entries with the majority being Level 2 and one of them being Level 3.

Trend Micro - Users should update to latest Scan Engine

Trend Micro

Symantec, F-Secure, and now Trend have issued patches for the new archieved zip file vulnerabilities, which could be exploited in the future.  All corporate and consumer based Trend products should be updated as soon as possible.

Trend Micro - Critical Bulletin (vulnerability in VSAPI ARJ parsing could allow Remote Code execution)

Firefox 1.01 - Corrects several Security vulnerabilities

  Firefox 1.01 has been released to address several security issues.  Users should unistall the prior version, backup/delete existing profiles, and then install FF 1.01.

Security Vulnerabilities Fixed in Firefox 1.0.1

Here's what's new in Firefox 1.0.1:

  • Improved stability
  • International Domain Names are now displayed as punycode. (To show International Domain Names in Unicode, set the "network.IDN_show_punycode" preference to false.)
  • Several security fixes.

MFSA 2005-29 Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) homograph spoofing
MFSA 2005-28 Unsafe /tmp/plugtmp directory exploitable to erase user's files
MFSA 2005-27 Plugins can be used to load privileged content
MFSA 2005-26 Cross-site scripting by dropping javascript: link on tab
MFSA 2005-25 Image drag and drop executable spoofing
MFSA 2005-24 HTTP auth prompt tab spoofing
MFSA 2005-23 Download dialog source spoofing
MFSA 2005-22 Download dialog spoofing using Content-Disposition header
MFSA 2005-21 Overwrite arbitrary files downloading .lnk twice
MFSA 2005-20 XSLT can include stylesheets from arbitrary hosts
MFSA 2005-19 Autocomplete data leak
MFSA 2005-18 Memory overwrite in string library
MFSA 2005-17 Install source spoofing with user:pass@host
MFSA 2005-16 Spoofing download and security dialogs with overlapping windows
MFSA 2005-15 Heap overflow possible in UTF8 to Unicode conversion
MFSA 2005-14 SSL "secure site" indicator spoofing
MFSA 2005-13 Window Injection Spoofing

Full Article Attached Mozilla Firefox 1.0.1 Released

Thursday February 24th, 2005 -- Mozilla Firefox 1.0.1 has just been released. A minor update, this version fixes a few security holes and some other bugs. If you're using Firefox 1.0, you want this release. The Firefox Release Notes have also been updated and The Burning Edge has an unofficial Firefox 1.0.1 changelog. Download links can be found on the official Firefox product page.

  BUG WHEN MANUALLY KEYING URLs:  If you are experiencing a crash when entering text into the address bar, you can correct the problem by removing the autocomplete.xpt file from your Firefox components directory, for example C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\components. To avoid this crash, do not install a new installer package on top of an older zipped package.

HOW TO INSTALL (use this approach even if you are on version 1.0)



Canada - Detailed IT Security Assessment

Coat of Arms  I thought the report format and detailed assessments were very well done by Canada's IT audit team.  This is one of the best recent assessments I've seen.  It's worth speed reading through for anyone involved in IT security.

Quote: Despite encouraging signs of improvement, the government has made unsatisfactory progress in strengthening information technology (IT) security since our audit in 2002. It has laid a foundation by developing IT security policies and standards, and lead agencies and departments are more involved and committed to IT security. However, two and a half years after revising its Government Security Policy, the government has much work to do to translate its policies and standards into consistent, cost-effective practices that will result in a more secure IT environment in departments and agencies

Sysinternals releases Rootkit Revealer detection utility

RootkitRevealer is an advanced root kit detection utility. It runs on Windows NT 4 and higher and its output lists Registry and file system API discrepancies that may indicate the presence of a user-mode or kernel-mode rootkit. RootkitRevealer successfully detects all persistent rootkits published at, including AFX, Vanquish and HackerDefender (note: RootkitRevealer is not intended to detect rootkits like Fu that don't attempt to hide their files or registry keys).

Sober.K - FBI Press Release

E-mails purporting to come from FBI are phony.  The FBI takes this matter seriously and is investigating.  Users receiving e-mails of this nature are encouraged to report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center via

Sober.K - New variant references the FBI and Microsoft

I think the virus author used the wrong social engineering scheme, as the FBI is actively investigating this new virus.  Microsoft is also referenced by the latest version of the Sober email worm as well. 

Sober.K - New variant to watch

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI warned Tuesday that a computer virus is being spread through unsolicited e-mails that purport to come from the FBI. ...

FBI issues warning about computer virus USA Today 

FBI Warns of E-Mail Virus

Virus Masquerades as FBI Warning TechNewsWorld

FBI Email Is Fake, Contains Virus Boost Marketing


  Dear Sir/Madam, we have logged your IP-address on more than 40 illegal Websites. Important: Please answer our questions!  The list of questions are attached.

Yours faithfully,
M. John Stellford

++-++ Federal Bureau of Investigation -FBI-
++-++ 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 2130
++-++ Washington, DC 20535
++-++ (202) 324-3000

  ATTENTION!   Antivirus vendors are warning of a new variant of the Sober virus discovered today that can delete the hard disk.   Protection: Download and read the zipped patch. It's very easy to install!  Thanks for your cooperation!

--- (c)2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved
--- Microsoft Corporation
--- One Microsoft Way
--- Redmond, Washington 98052-6399

Spyware Removal - Two Comprehensive Cleaning Guides

Spyware Removal - Two Comprehensive Cleaning Guides

Murray State's recommended 10 step Maintenance Checklist


This is the best overall checklist I've seen for keeping your computer both secure and optimized for performance.

Murray State's recommended 10 step Maintenance Checklist

Book on Identity Theft: "Your evil Twin"

This site devoted to promoting this book has some resources to help victims of Identity Theft.


Book summary

Read Chapter 1


When you are hit
with identity theft

Share your stories

Identity Theft
Resource Center

Federal Trade Commission
ID theft center 

TechNet Security - Making Web Browsing More Secure

Microsoft TechNet

February 2005's Security Tip of the month is Excellent

Making Web Browsing More Secure

You can make Web browsing more secure by doing a few simple things:

Make sure that Windows XP Service Pack 2 is installed. This service pack increases the security of Microsoft Internet Explorer with pop-up blocking and add-on management.

Configure your browser’s security settings for safer browsing.

Configure your browser’s privacy settings to avoid unwanted cookies and pop-up ads.

Be careful about which Web sites you visit. Sites devoted to illegal or questionable subjects, such as hacker sites, sites for downloading pirated music or software, and pornographic sites are most likely to contain malicious code.

Enable checking of digital signatures on drivers and other programs you download.

Do not conduct financial transactions or send private information over the Web unless the site is secure. A secure site is usually indicated by a dialog box or a “lock” icon in the browser’s status or address bar.

Configure your browser so that it does not automatically download ActiveX controls or run scripts, Java applets, or other code. If you want to be able to run code on some sites, configure the browser to prompt you before doing so.

Corporate Users - Recommendations on Virus Warnings

   A member in MyITForums ask for general guidelines in composing virus alert messages to be sent to all employees for a rapidly spreading virus.  

Occasionally viruses will get into the corporate email system before AV protection is in place. The "rules" below represent some of the factors I have learned after years of doing this.

Rule #1 - KEEP IT SIMPLE for the users to promote understanding by non-technical folks

Rule #2 - KEEP IT SHORT as you want it to be read quickly plus it saves bandwidth and space on your email servers. 

Rule #3 - TELL THEM WHAT TO AVOID and promote good security awareness along the way in a simple way

Rule #4 - ASK THEM TO REPORT INFECTIONS to the Help Desk, Security department, or Techs rather than trying to clean the virus themselves.

Rule #5 - SHARE LINKS TO MORE INFO on your Intranet based Security Awareness sites. Hopefully, you have an Intranet Security site (and if not build one as it's one of your best tools)

Here's an example of a format I'd recommend changing the word EXAMPLE to the specifics relevant for the particular virus:


Subject: Virus Alert: W/32.EXAMPLE.A (avoid EXAMPLE.ZIP attachments)

Some of our professionals have found copies of W/32.EXAMPLE.A in their email accounts. We have protection from AV-VENDOR in place to now block this rapidly spreading virus.

Please report all suspicious email attachments to our Help Desk. The attachment to avoid is EXAMPLE.ZIP. If you have accidently selected this, please contact our Help Desk at 999-HELP so we can check your system


PLEASE PROTECT YOUR COMPANY AND HOME PC THRU BEST PRACTICES: - Press Release on 145,000 affected by Data Theft

ChoicePoint maintains and sells background files on virtually every adult American.  They extract this information from millions of public and private records. issued a detailed press release at their website regarding the identity theft impacting 144,778 citizens across the United States.

The press release contains a table showing the number of citizens impacted in each state.  In addition to notifying everyone, they have setup a special toll-free support number.  They will be purchasing tri-bureau credit reports and a one year subsciption to the monitoring service.  Finally, they are asking the industry for more assistance on detecting and prosecuting Identity Theft.

What we know about the crime

What we are doing to inform and protect Consumers

What we are doing to minimize the likelihood of future occurrences

MS05-002: Trojan.Anicmoo.B

  MS05-002: Trojan.Anicmoo.B

This new risk is not widespread, but represents a new method of attack based on a security exposure Microsoft patched during January 2005.  This illustrates the importance of installing security patches as soon as they are available.

Trojan.Anicmoo.B is a downloader Trojan that exploits the Windows User32.DLL ANI File Header Handling Stack-Based Buffer Overflow Vulnerability (as described in the Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-002). The Trojan exists as a malformed animated cursor (.ani). The Trojan downloads a copy of SecurityRisk.Downldr.

Once a malformed .ani file is viewed using Windows Explorer or Internet Explorer, Trojan.Anicmoo.B performs the following actions:

1. Downloads a file from a hostile domain.
2. Saves the downloaded file
3. Terminates its running process.
4. SecurityRisk.Downldr downloads the file update.txt 
5. This file contains commands from a remote attacker to perform actions on the compromised computer.
6. Currently update.txt contains commands to download a Browser Helper Object
 file and register it as a service. The .dll is currently harmless, but it attempts to connect to the domain without being detected on the compromised computer.

MyDoom.BE - Escalated to MEDIUM RISK by McAfee
This new variant emerged overnight and has quickly been escalated to MEDIUM RISK by McAfee with an emergency release of virus definition files to detect and clean this new threat.

MyDoom.BE - Escalated to MEDIUM RISK by McAfee

This variant W32/Mydoom is similar to previous variants, it bears the following characteristics:

* mass-mailing worm constructing messages using its own SMTP engine
* harvests email addresses from the victim machine
* spoofs the From: address
* contains a peer to peer propagation routine
* downloads the BackDoor-CEB.F trojan

From: (spoofed From: header)

delivery failed
Message could not be delivered
Mail System Error - Returned Mail
Delivery reports about your e-mail
Returned mail: see transcript for details
Returned mail: Data format error

ATTACHMENT: one of the following extensions: EXE, COM, SCR, PIF, BAT, CMD, ZIP

-- Update 21st Feb 2005 -- Due to increased prevalence, the risk assessment of this threat has been raised to MEDIUM. The specified DAT files will be released early to address this threat.

Use the Free AVERT Stinger updated to remove this variant
Sober.K Worm - new variant to watch

AV companies are now evaluating this new variant further.  Hopefully it will continue to stay low-risk. 

Sober.K Worm - new variant to watch

Sober.K worm was seeded in e-mails on 21st of February 2005. It is quite similar to the previous variants. Sober.K sends itself as an attachment in e-mail messages with English or German texts.  The worm sends different types of e-mail messages with English and German texts and its file attached. The attachment is a ZIP archive containing the worm's executable. Before spreading the worm scans files with certain extensions on all hard disks to harvest e-mail addresses.

Derdero A/B/C - New sophisticated email worm

Three new variants of this new worm surfaced over the weekend.  It is advanced like MyDoom, Netsky, and other email worms, so this new family is worth monitoring 




W32.Derdero.A@mm is a mass-mailing worm that uses it own SMTP engine to send email to addresses that it retrieves from the Windows Address Book. The email will have a variable subject and attachment name.  It also attempts to spread through file-sharing programs and infects all .exe files on the C drive.

Large scale e-mailing: Sends itself to addresses found in the Windows Address Book.
Deletes files: n/a
Modifies files: Infects .exe files. Modifies the Hosts file.
Degrades performance: Slows down computer.
Causes system instability: Due to the overwriting of .exe programs, many programs will fail to run.
Releases confidential info: n/a
Compromises security settings: Attempts to end some security-related processes.

Subject of email: Varies
Name of attachment: Varies with a .cmd, .exe, .pif, .scr, or .zip file extension. The file may also have a double-extension ending in one of the previous extensions.
Size of attachment: n/a
Time stamp of attachment: n/a
Ports: n/a
Shared drives: n/a
Target of infection: Attempts to spread through file-sharing networks by copying itself to folders which contain the string "shar" in their name.


From: <Spoofed> - One of following:

Subject - One of the following:
Urgent Update!
Server Error
Detailed Information
User Information
New Worm Alert
Malware Avoidance tips

Message Body - One of the following:
Your Email account information has been removed from the system due to
inactivity. To renew your account information refer to the attachment
We regret to inform you that your account has been hijacked and used for
illegal purposes. The attachment has more information about what has
Our Email system has received reports of your account flooding email
servers. There is more information on this matter in the attachment
Due to recent internet attacks, your Email account security is being
upgraded. The attachment contains more details
Our server is experiencing some latency in our email service. The
attachment contains details on how your account will be affected.
A new worm is circulating around. To protect yourself, read the attached
Please run the urgent patch attached to protect yourself from a new
As a service to our users, we have attached a note on avoiding malware.

Attachment - One of the following:

Extentions - One of the following:

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