New worm targets two MS vulnerabilities

Antivirus software companies are warning customers about a new email worm that targets unpatched Microsoft Windows machines with either of two recently disclosed software vulnerabilities.

The new worm, known as both Plexus and Explet.A, was first detected last Wednesday and spreads by exploiting Windows machines with vulnerabilities used by two recent worms, Sasser and Blaster, according to alerts.

Network Associates' McAfee Antivirus Emergency Response Team and Symantec both said the new worm did not pose a serious threat, but issued software updates on Thursday to detect it.

Like Sasser, Plexus can exploit the recently disclosed hole in the Windows component called Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS) which Microsoft patched in April. Like the Blaster worm that appeared in August 2003, Plexus can also crawl through a hole in a Windows component called the Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) interface, which handles messages sent using the RPC (remote procedure call) protocol. (See http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS03-026.mspx and http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS04-011.mspx.)

Plexus spreads in files attached to email messages with faked sender addresses and vague subjects such as "RE: order", "For you" and "Good offer". When users open the virus file, the worm is launched and alters the configuration of Windows so that the worm program runs each time Windows starts. It also scans the hard drive of infected computers, harvesting email addresses from a variety of files, including stored Web pages written in Hypertext Markup Language.

The worm then uses those email addresses to target other users, sending out a flood of messages using a built-in Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) engine. It is also able to spread to other computers on a network using shared folders and the copies itself to the shared folder file on the KaZaa peer-to-peer network using a variety of file names, including Shrek_2.exe, playing on the popularity of the recently released animated film.

Antivirus companies recommended that Windows users who have not done so already apply software patches for the LSASS and DCOM and update their antivirus software to spot Plexus.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Roberts

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?