Threat Description





This type of worm is embedded in an e-mail attachment, and spreads using the infected computer's e-mailing networks.


Manual disinfection of an Mimail.I infected computer consists of the following steps:

1. Remove the registry value
  • [HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\SvcHost32]

2. Restart the computer

3. Delete '%WinDir%\svchost32.exe' (where %WinDir% is the Windows Directory, typically c:\windows\ or c:\winnt)

Technical Details

Email-Worm:W32/Mimail.I is a worm that propagates in infected e-mail attachments. Mimail.I also has a payload: it uses a fake web that appears to be a legitimate enquiry from Paypal, in order to steal credit card information.

F-Secure has received reports of e-mails containing the Mimail.I worm that use the attachment name: 'paypal.asp.scr'. As the worm is coded to send e-mails with the attachment name '', it is likely that these new messages were hand-crafted.

Mimail.I was found on November 14th, 2003.


Mimail.I arrives in email that looks as follows:

If the user runs the attachment, Mimail.I copies itself to the Windows Directory as:

  • svchost32.exe

This copy is added to the registry as:

  • [HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\SvcHost32]

The worm also drops a fake web form to:

  • c:\pp.hta
  • c:\pp.gif


Mimail.I uses its own SMTP engine it sends e-mails with the malicious attachment.

The worm collects email addresses from files on the infected computer. It recursively searches through the user's document folders and looks into all the files whose extension is not on the following list

  • "bmp"
  • "jpg"
  • "gif"
  • "exe"
  • "dll"
  • "avi"
  • "mpg"
  • "mp3"
  • "vxd"
  • "ocx"
  • "psd"
  • "tif"
  • "zip"
  • "rar"
  • "pdf"
  • "cab"
  • "wav"
  • "com"

To find the SMTP server of the target e-mail address, the worm does an MX lookup using a predefined public DNS server.

The e-mails used by Mimail.I to distribute its infected attachment has the following characteristics:

  • From: ""
  • Attachment:
  • Body text:
 Dear PayPal member,
 PayPal would like to inform you about some important information 
 regarding your PayPal account. This account, which is associated 
 with this email address
 will be expiring within five business 
 days. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause, 
 but this is occurring because all of our customers are required 
 to update their account settings with their personal information.
 We are taking these actions because we are implementing a new 
 security policy on our website to insure everyone's absolute 
 privacy. To avoid any interruption in PayPal services then you 
 will need to run the application that we have sent with this 
 email (see attachment) and follow the instructions. Please do 
 not send your personal information through email, as it will not 
 be as secure.
 IMPORTANT! If you do not update your information with our secure 
 application within the next five business days then we will be 
 forced to deactivate your account and you will not be able to 
 use your PayPal account any longer. It is strongly recommended 
 that you take a few minutes out of your busy day and complete 
 this now.
 DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE VIA EMAIL! This mail is sent by an 
 automated message system and the reply will not be received.
 Thank you for using PayPal.


On executing the worm, a fake web form that appears to be from Paypal is displayed. This is a Social Engineering trick used by the worm to deceive users into entering their credit card information into the form.

Once entered, the credit card information from the form is collected to a file, 'c:\ppinfo.sys' which is later mailed to certain email addresses.


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