Threat Description





W97M/Caligula is a Word macro virus that tries to attack against the popular PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption program.


Automatic action

Once detected, the F-Secure security product will automatically disinfect the suspect file by either deleting it or renaming it.


You may wish to refer to the Support Community for further assistance. You also may also refer to General Removal Instructions for a general guide on alternative disinfection actions.

Technical Details

The virus spreads by keeping it's code in a file called c:\io.vxd.

The summary information of infected documents is changed to this:

  Title: WM97/Caligula Infection
  Subject:  A Study In Espionage Enabled Viruses
  Keywords: / Caligula / Opic / Codebreakers /
  Comments: The Best Security Is Knowing The Other
Guy Hasn't Got Any

The virus hooks the Tools/Macro, Tools/Customize, View/Toolbar and View/statusbar menus. The Tools/Macro menu is greyed out and can't be accessed.

On 31st of each month the virus shows a dialog with this message:

  WM97/Caligula (c) Opic [CodeBreakers 1998]
 No cia,
  No nsa,
  No satellite,
  Could map our veins.

The really nasty part of the virus is related to PGP: the virus locates the secret keyring file of PGP (SECRING.SKR) and tries to send it with FTP to a site in the domain (which is known virus exchange site). To send the key the virus creates temporary file called c:\cdbrk.vxd.

If the attacker can break the passphrase, he can then open PGP encrypted files sent to this user.

This is quite serious as passphrases are the weakest known link today in public key cryptography such as PGP. Also, people very commonly use too weak passphrases. With a copy of the keyring, massive brute-force attacks are possible for any period of time - and the user may not even know if a copy has been made of the keyring.

Technical Details: Katrin Tocheva, F-Secure


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