New worm, Winevar, packs a punch

A new e-mail worm is circulating that has the potential to severely damage machines that it infects, potentially deleting all the files on a computer's hard drive while mocking the machine's owner, according to advisories released by a number of antivirus software makers.

The new worm is called Winevar and was first spotted in South Korea. Its release was possibly intended to coincide with the Anti-Virus Asia Researchers (AVAR) conference, which was held in Seoul, South Korea, last week, according to an advisory released by Helsinki-based security company F-Secure Corp.

E-mail messages containing the worm may contain the subject "Re: AVAR (Association of Anti-Virus Asia Researchers," according to F-Secure.

The worm is also known by other names, for example: W32/Winevar.A, W32/Korvar, W32/Winevar@mm, I-Worm.Winevar, and the "Korean Worm."

According to advisories, the worm appears to be a variant of the recent Bridex or "Braid" worm.

Like that worm, Winevar takes advantage of the known IFRAME vulnerability in Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer Web browser and Microsoft mail clients such as Outlook and Outlook Express. That vulnerability allows attachments in HTML-format e-mail messages to be opened without user interaction.

Also like Bridex, Winevar deposits a variant of the Funlove virus on infected machines once it is run and attempts to shut down processes used by antivirus software. According to an advisory by Moscow-based Kaspersky Labs Ltd., there are signs that the worm may also be programmed to conduct a denial of service attack against antivirus software maker Symantec Corp.'s Web site.

Winevar spreads itself by searching out e-mail files and extracting addresses from them. The worm then uses Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP) to e-mail copies of itself to those addresses, using random series of numbers to disguise the name of the attachment containing the worm, further complicating the task of identifying infected e-mail messages.

Whereas Bridex simply gathered information on the systems it infects, however, Winevar can cause real damage to machines.

Once infected machines are rebooted, the worm displays a dialogue titled "Make a fool of oneself" with the message "What a foolish thing you have done!" Clicking on an OK button on the dialogue deletes all files on the computer's hard drive that are not currently opened, according to the security advisories.

Winevar is known to have infected machines, according to Kaspersky Labs.

Most leading antivirus companies have posted updated definitions for the new worm and instructions on removing the worm from infected machines. Users who suspect they are infected are advised not to restart their machine before removing the worm's files.

In addition, Microsoft has issued a patch covering the IFrame vulnerability exploited by Winevar (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/downloads/critical/q323759ie/default.asp), as well as an ActiveX vulnerability used by Winevar (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/security/bulletin/MS00-075.asp).

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Roberts

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?