Threat Explorer

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13 March 2002
13 February 2007
Also Known As:
W97M.Jugular.A@mm, X97M.Jugular.A@mm

This is a metamorphic macro virus that infects Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel documents. In Word it infects the template, and in Excel it contaminates the \XLStart folder with an infected Excel workbook. Also, it contains a mass-mailing routine for the replication purposes.

Metamorphic viruses use a permutated virus body. The virus engine of a metamorphic virus can recompile itself into a new form. Therefore, the code of the virus is different from generation to generation.

The virus uses the mass-mailing routine for replication purposes. It sends email to the contacts that it finds in the Windows address book. The email has the following characteristics:

NOTE: Items enclosed in % % are variables. The variable %ActiveDocumentName% is the name of the active Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel document, and %UserName% refers to the logon name of the user that is currently logged on to the network or operating system.

From : %UserName%
Attachment : <The infected Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel document>
Subject and Message are chosen at random from the following list:

Subject: Here's %ActiveDocumentName%
Message: Hope this helps.   %UserName%

Subject: Hope this is what you wanted...
Message: I've attached %ActiveDocumentName%.  Let me know if there's a problem.

Subject: Hey John, check this out [private]
Message: (Make sure you don't show anyone else)

Subject: Check out these sitez! {personal}
Message: Don't stay up TOO late checking these out :-)

Subject: The report you requested
Message: If this isn't the right one, let me know. %UserName%

Subject: Check out these babes!
Message: You know the score, passwords to the latest batch of sites enclosed (courtesy of FoG). Check out the girl on the entrance to site number 3...)

Subject: New computer question...
Message: Does this look right?  New PIII for $600?  What's missing from it?

Subject: That report...
Message:  Here's %ActiveDocumentName% .  This was what you wanted?  Call me if it isn't...

Subject:  ...
Message: Free porn site passwords!

Subject:  IMPORTANT: virus alert
Message:   Do we need to be worried? %UserName%

Subject: Latest round of Bill Gates jokes...
Message: Joke 4 nearly gave me a heart attack, I laughed so hard!!

Subject: <attachment>
Message: Here's %ActiveDocumentName%, I hope this was the one you wanted.

Subject: Microsoft Office 2000 code crack!
Message :  I've attached the serial number, and FTP site/password.  Don't want to be caught out by Y2K (or spend $1300 either!)

Subject:  Pictures
Message:  Here are those pictures of me you wanted -- enjoy ;).  I've put them in Word format, the password is 'LUVMYBODY'.

Subject:  New Windows Internet hack found!
Message:  Check this out, do you think it's for real?


Symantec Security Response encourages all users and administrators to adhere to the following basic security "best practices":

  • Use a firewall to block all incoming connections from the Internet to services that should not be publicly available. By default, you should deny all incoming connections and only allow services you explicitly want to offer to the outside world.
  • Enforce a password policy. Complex passwords make it difficult to crack password files on compromised computers. This helps to prevent or limit damage when a computer is compromised.
  • Ensure that programs and users of the computer use the lowest level of privileges necessary to complete a task. When prompted for a root or UAC password, ensure that the program asking for administration-level access is a legitimate application.
  • Disable AutoPlay to prevent the automatic launching of executable files on network and removable drives, and disconnect the drives when not required. If write access is not required, enable read-only mode if the option is available.
  • Turn off file sharing if not needed. If file sharing is required, use ACLs and password protection to limit access. Disable anonymous access to shared folders. Grant access only to user accounts with strong passwords to folders that must be shared.
  • Turn off and remove unnecessary services. By default, many operating systems install auxiliary services that are not critical. These services are avenues of attack. If they are removed, threats have less avenues of attack.
  • If a threat exploits one or more network services, disable, or block access to, those services until a patch is applied.
  • Always keep your patch levels up-to-date, especially on computers that host public services and are accessible through the firewall, such as HTTP, FTP, mail, and DNS services.
  • Configure your email server to block or remove email that contains file attachments that are commonly used to spread threats, such as .vbs, .bat, .exe, .pif and .scr files.
  • Isolate compromised computers quickly to prevent threats from spreading further. Perform a forensic analysis and restore the computers using trusted media.
  • Train employees not to open attachments unless they are expecting them. Also, do not execute software that is downloaded from the Internet unless it has been scanned for viruses. Simply visiting a compromised Web site can cause infection if certain browser vulnerabilities are not patched.
  • If Bluetooth is not required for mobile devices, it should be turned off. If you require its use, ensure that the device's visibility is set to "Hidden" so that it cannot be scanned by other Bluetooth devices. If device pairing must be used, ensure that all devices are set to "Unauthorized", requiring authorization for each connection request. Do not accept applications that are unsigned or sent from unknown sources.
  • For further information on the terms used in this document, please refer to the Security Response glossary.

Obtain the most recent virus definitions. There are two ways to do this:
    • Run LiveUpdate. LiveUpdate is the easiest way to obtain virus definitions. These virus definitions have undergone full quality assurance testing by Symantec Security Response and are posted to the LiveUpdate servers one time each week (usually Wednesdays) unless there is a major virus outbreak. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by LiveUpdate, look at the Virus Definitions (LiveUpdate) line at the top of this write-up.
    • Download the definitions using the Intelligent Updater. Intelligent Updater virus definitions have undergone full quality assurance testing by Symantec Security Response. They are posted on U.S. business days (Monday through Friday). They must be downloaded from the Symantec Security Response Web site and installed manually. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by the Intelligent Updater, look at the Virus Definitions (Intelligent Updater) line at the top of this write-up.

      Intelligent Updater virus definitions are available here. For detailed instructions on how to download and install the Intelligent Updater virus definitions from the Symantec Security Response Web site, click here.
  1. Start Norton AntiVirus (NAV), and make sure that NAV is configured to scan all files. For instructions on how to do this, read the document How to configure Norton AntiVirus to scan all files.
  2. Run a full system scan.
  3. If any files are detected as infected by O97M.Jugular.A@mm, click Repair.

Writeup By: Serghei Sevcenco