Threat description




Aler is a network worm that was widely mass-mailed with the subject "Latest News about Arafat!!!". The attachments contain a regular JPEG and and custom-crafted EMF file which exploits the EMF (MS04-032) vulnerability. The worm does not use the exploit for propagation. Aler propagates to hosts with weak user passwords.

The clean image looked like this:

The payload of the worm is a multi component TCP proxy trojan.


Automatic action

Depending on the settings of your F-Secure security product, it will either automatically delete, quarantine or rename the suspect file, or ask you for a desired action.

More scanning & removal options

More information on the scanning and removal options available in your F-Secure product can be found in the Help Center.

You may also refer to the Knowledge Base on the F-Secure Community site for more information.

Contact Support

F-Secure customers can request support online via the Request support or the Chat forms on our Home - Global site.

Technical Details

System Infection

When the EMF attachment is opened the exploit triggers, which results in a chain-reaction of droppers. The following files are created in the Windows System directory:

  • SP00LSV.EXE - main dropper that drops the rest of the files
  • Alerter.exe - copy of the main dropper
  • Alerter16.exe - copied there during network infection
  • SPC.EXE - Backdoor dropper
  • SCardSer.exe - Backdoor injector
  • comsock.dll (renamed to comwsock.dll) - Backdoor injector
  • sockup.dll (renamd to dmsock.dll) - Main backdoor component
  • SPTRES.DLL - Network propagation routines

SPTRES.DLL is injected into EXPLORER.EXE, comsock.dll is injected into LSASS.EXE and dmsock.dll is injected into a number of other processes (eg. IEXPLORE.EXE, OUTLOOK.EXE, etc).

Network Propagation

The network propagation routine of Aler is very simple. It scans random IP addresses for Windows computers. If it finds one, the worm attempts to connect to it using user credentials from the infected computer as well as a list of predefined passwords (eg. 1234, pass, etc). If the connection is successful the Aler copies the main dropper to the remote computer as

  • ADMIN$\System32\Alerter.exe
  • ADMIN$\System32\Alerter16.exe

then starts them as a service.


The payload of Aler is a TCP proxy that allows the attacker to initiate network connections through the infected computer. This feature could be used to send SPAM, attack other computers, etc.

The backdoor components of Aler are detected as


Detection for this malware was published on November 11th, 2004 in the following F-Secure Anti-Virus updates:

Detection Type: PC

Database: 2004-11-11_02

Detection for the MS04-032 exploit was added on October 22nd, 2004 in update version

Detection Type: PC

Database: 2004-10-22_01

Submit a Sample

Suspect a file or URL was wrongly detected? Send it to our Labs for further analysis

Submit a Sample

Give And Get Advice

Give advice. Get advice. Share the knowledge on our free discussion forum.

More Info