Marlow, UK - May 03, 2004 - Trend Micro, Inc. (TSE: 4704, NASDAQ: TMIC), a leader in network antivirus and Internet content security software and services, today warns of a family of new worms, referred to as "WORM_SASSER" that spreads by scanning for random IP addresses and exploiting a buffer overrun vulnerability recently reported by Microsoft for the Windows operating system. Anyone connected to the Internet, including corporate networks and broadband subscribers, may be at risk from this family of worms. Variants of this worm have been seen in several countries throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America, and in the U.S. since early Saturday (May 1, 2004.) While "SASSER" is not the first worm to take advantage of the Microsoft vulnerability, it uses a method of propagation to spread broadly and at an exponential rate.
WORM_SASSER exploits the Windows "Local Security Authority Subsystem Service" (LSASS) vulnerability, which is a buffer overrun that allows remote code execution and enables an attacker to gain full control of the affected system. To propagate, "SASSER" variants scan random IP addresses for vulnerable systems. When a vulnerable system is found, the malware sends a specially crafted packet to produce a buffer overrun on LSASS.EXE, which causes the program to crash, and essentially the infected system to crash, and requires Windows to reboot.
By using IP addresses, WORM_SASSER scans the global Internet for vulnerable systems and can search for vulnerable systems within entire network segments. Infections grow exponentially - each infected system can potentially be used to search for other vulnerable systems.
"More infections can lead to increased network traffic and result in severe network slowdowns, like an internal denial-of-service," said Joe Hartmann, senior virus researcher and analyst for Trend Micro, Inc.
The LSASS vulnerability was first reported on April 13, 2004, and was first utilized by a variant of the AGOBOT worm (WORM_AGOBOT.JF), detected a mere 16 days later. Compared to the "Blaster" worm (August 2003) that took 26 days between vulnerability and outbreak, there is an ever-shortening time gap from vulnerability to exploitation. The "Blaster" worm also found victims through random IP addresses and exploited a known vulnerability. WORM_ABGOBOT.JF propagated through networks by spreading through select SMB shares, which may explain why it did not spread extensively.
WORM_SASSER variants arrive as a 16KB attachment, and affect Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP platforms.
Trend Micro customers are protected through the latest pattern file, number 883. Customers of Outbreak Prevention Services should download OPP 112 to help protect against spread of this threat. For customers of Damage Cleanup Services, Damage Cleanup template # 334 should be downloaded to help with automated restoration of affected systems. Users of Trend Micro Network VirusWall(tm) 1200 can detect this worm through pattern #10124 (or later). The associated vulnerabilities were also described in Vulnerability Assessment pattern # 010.
Customers are recommended to apply the necessary vulnerability patches available from Microsoft to address the LSASS vulnerability.
For more information, please visit www.trendmicro.com.
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