The Plage 2000 worm was first published on some virus distribution sites before 10th of January 2000. Several days later it was found in the wild in several countries.
Disinfection & Removal
The worm itself is a PE executable 102400 bytes long. It is not encrypted, but there could appear encrypted versions of this worm that might make its detection harder. The worm has a WinZip icon pretending to be a self-extracting ZIP archive.
The Plage worm arrives as an e-mail attachment and being run installs itself to system as INETD.EXE to root Windows folder. The worm then modifies WIN.INI file and Registry to be run during every further Windows sessions. Being active in memory the worm communicates with MAPI-compatible e-mail browsers, looks for unanswered messages and replies to them itself. The worm's reply message looks like an ordinary autoreply that many people use while they can't read their e-mails:
P2000 Mail auto-reply: ' I'll try to reply as soon as possible. Take a look to the attachment and send me your opinion! ' > Get your FREE P2000 Mail now! <
The worm's body is always attached to the message. The file name of the attachment is randomly selected by the worm from the following variants:
pics.exe images.exe joke.exe PsPGame.exe news_doc.exe hamster.exe tamagotxi.exe searchURL.exe SETUP.EXE Card.EXE billgt.exe midsong.exe s3msong.exe docs.exe humor.exe fun.exe
When a recepient gets this message and clicks on the attachment (which, he thinks is a ZIP archive) the worm infects his system as well. First the worm outputs a WinZip Self-Extractor -like dialog:
When a user clicks on 'Unzip' or 'Run WinZip' buttons the worm displays a fake error message and installs itself to system:
If 'Close' button is clicked the worm installs itself to system and exits without displaying anything. If any other button is clicked a standard Windows error message is displayed and the worm installs itself to system as well.
Being active the worm checks date and time and on Wednesdays right after midnight it tries to display a dialog with the following picture:
and the following text:
Fight against the plage of inhumanity. This is Plage 2000 coded by Bumblebee/29a.
The worm doesn't have any destructive payload. But as it spreads itself with a trustworthy message so it may become widespread quickly.
Technical Details: Alexey Podrezov, F-Secure, January 2000