[ISN] Worm Attack: A Grudge Match With Symantec?

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Thu Mar 01 2007 - 23:02:22 PST


By Sharon Gaudin
March 1, 2007

A worm is getting an awful lot of attention for a piece of malware that 
several anti-virus vendors have rated as a 'low' threat.

The Rinbot worm, which also is known as the Delbot worm, hit the 
computer network at the Turner Broadcasting System, a division of Time 
Warner and parent of CNN and CNNMoney.com, according to a company 
spokeswoman. A story on the CNN.com Web site said the network was hit on 
Thursday. It's not clear how much the worm impacted the network.

The worm, which is trying to build a botnet, also was getting quite a 
bit of play because it targets Symantec, a leading anti-virus software 
vendor. While the worm does exploit a vulnerability in Symantec client 
security, it also goes after Microsoft's Windows Server Service remote 
buffer overflow vulnerability and Microsoft's SQL Server user 
authentication remote buffer overflow vulnerability.

Paul Moriarty, director of Internet content security at TrendMicro, 
notes that all three vulnerabilities have been patched. The worm can 
only get a foothold in company networks or individual machines if they 
have not been updated.

"There's no evidence of a big attack here," says Graham Cluley, a senior 
technology consultant with Sophos. "It does look for vulnerabilities in 
other software but the Symantec exploit is particularly notable. 
Symantec has put so much effort looking into the security of Microsoft 
Vista, while hackers have been going after Symantec."

He also adds that Sophos analysts have not seen the worm, which was 
first spotted in the wild early in 2005, picking up a dramatic amount of 
speed. "It's not like it's gaining speed or becoming a Melissa or an I 
Love You. It's that it's hitting some high-visibility sites."

Rinbot also targets weak passwords, according to Cluley, noting that it 
has several hundred common passwords built into its code so it can do 
automatic searches for an easy way in to the network. The malware looks 
to open backdoors, connecting to remote servers and enabling a hacker to 
control the machine remotely.

"Symantec Security Response is aware of the W32.Rinbot.L worm which 
spreads to network shares protected by weak passwords," said a Symantec 
spokesman in a statement emailed to InformationWeek. "This particular 
variant of the W32.Rinbot virus exploited an old vulnerability in 
Microsoft software (MS06-040) and Symantec AntiVirus. Symantec's Norton 
product line is not affected. In order to close off the vulnerability 
itself, a patch was made available to customers in May 2006. Customers 
who have followed intelligent patching practices should not be affected 
by the new variant."

Is the virus writer targeting Symantec in some type of grudge match as 
the CNN story implied? That's still up in the air.

"From time to time virus writers leave messages in their code. Sometimes 
these are shout-outs to other virus writers, sometimes it is their own 
nickname, and other times they send messages to us," writes Stephen 
Doherty, a security response engineer with Symantec, in his blog on 
Wednesday. "Here is one that speaks for itself: Dear Symantec: For years 
I have longed for just one thing, to make malware with just the right 
sting, you detected my creation and got my domains killed, but I will 
not stop, I can rebuild." The virus writer then ended his message with a 
string of expletives aimed at Symantec and Doherty himself.

Doherty did not say which piece of malware this message was embedded in.

Cluley, though, says these kinds of messages are not all that uncommon. 
They were more common when the majority of viruses were written by 
script kiddies in their basements, instead of high-tech criminals 
looking to make a fortune through cybercrime.

Moriarty agrees. "It's just another worm," he adds. "Most likely it's 
someone who wrote malware for Symantec because they're one of the 
largest corporate installments of anti-virus. If you're writing, you go 
after the big boys."

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