Friday, June 18, 2021

Another Bagle Variant Tears up the Internet

Yet another variant from the virulent Bagle family of worms is rampaging

across the Internet.

After only 24 hours in the wild, Bagle-AU has taken the ninth spot in

the list of most prolific viruses, according to analysts at Sophos,

Inc., an anti-virus and anti-spam company based in Lynnfield, Mass.

Carole Theriault, a security consultant with Sophos, says the danger

behind Bagle-AU lies in its ability to propagate, overwhelming corporate

email servers.

Several new Bagle variants have hit the wild in the past few days and

they are strikingly similar in nature and content. Because of their

similarities, Sophos has labeled all of the latest variants as Bagle-AU.

However, different anti-virus vendors have given the malware different

names. The variant also is known as Bagle-BC, Bagle-AT and Bagle-AS.

”Dozens of Bagle variants have been plaguing users since the first one

was spotted in January of this year, and unfortunately, they continue to

wreak havoc on unprotected users,” says Gregg Mastoras, senior security

analyst at Sophos. ”This variant has been observed in force within

companies around the globe, and has the ability to significantly impair

email systems if it reaches a critical mass.”

The new variant spreads via email messages and attachments, as well as

through network shares. The worm attempts to email itself to addresses

harvested from the infected machine, as well as copying itself to

file-sharing folders. Analysts at MessageLabs Inc., an anti-virus

company, report that in an additional attempt to propagate, the new

variant will install a remote access component on TCP port 81 and

attempt to download files from a website.

The spoofed subject header will contain greetings such as ”Hello”,

”Thank you!” and ”Thanks :-)”, and the viruses spread when email

attachments named ”price”, ”Price” or ”Joke” are opened, according

to MessageLabs.

The worm copies itself to the Windows system directory and opens TCP

Port 81 as a means for remote access to the compromised machine, notes

MessageLabs. Once installed on a user’s machine, it attempts to

terminate a number of running security-related processes on the machine.

Anti-virus company Panda Software reports that the worm is spreading

rapidly across the world, gaining speed just a few hours after it first

appeared. The number of incidents caused by this worm is expected to

continue increasing and new variants are expected to emerge over the

next few hours, reports Panda analysts, who have issued a Red Virus

Alert for the bug.

”I suspect that this could be a significant problem,” says Sophos’

Theriault. ”We’ll have to wait till Monday to see what happens… Over

the weekend the virus will land in all those corporate inboxes. We’ll

see what happens when they get to work and turn on their computers. If

they have protection in place, it won’t hurt anybody. But if protection

is not in place, it will take off.”

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