Of course, the virus is not able to run itself automatically from infected message. It is not able to infect the system when an infected message is opened and read. To spread the virus the infected EXE attach has to be extracted and executed. To do exactly the same (to extract and execute the attached file) the text of message convinces the user.
The virus was not found in-the-wild, but being released it can appear as a real danger to global computer network because to spread itself is uses the most popular OS (Windows) and one of most popular email systems (Eudora).
The length of virus code and data is 4766 bytes. The virus was named after text strings that present in virus body (they are encrypted in infected files):
[-RED TEAM-] (C) The Soul Manager.
Made in Australia - 06.97.
So, so, Herr Kurtzhals - Is F/Win able to follow The Red Team?
While infecting NewEXE files the virus does not create new segment in there - it calculates address of code segment, moves the rest of file down and writes itself to that cave. The virus increases the size of code segment and as a result stays as a part of legal program's code. The virus also fixes necessary fields in NE header and relocation tables. The virus then modifies initial address of entry point, or patches addresses of system routines in case of KRNL286/386.EXE.
When an infected file is executed under not infected environment, the virus takes control and looks for Win16 Kernel module (KRNL286.EXE or KRNL386.EXE). When this file is located, the virus opens and infects it. The virus does not alter entry point address, it changes addresses of WINEXEC or INITTASK routines instead. In case of Windows 3.xx the virus sets new address of WINEXEC routine, in case of Windows95/NT the virus do the same with INITTASK routine (because Windows95/NT do not call WINEXEC).
To separate KRNL?86.EXE modules (Windows 3.xx or Windows95/NT) the virus uses the name if exported CALLPROC32W function, it presents only in 32-bit Windows95/NT.
The virus then returns control to host program and does not perform any other actions. As a result being executed for the first time the virus does not leave any code in system memory - it only infects Windows' Kernel16 module.
Go memory resident
When Windows is loaded with infected Kernel, the virus stays in the system memory as a part of Kernel - no special action is necessary to do that because code of virus is placed in the same code segment as original Kernel's routines. The virus also does not perform any action to hook system events because they were already hooked while infection - address of WINEXEC or INITTASK already points to virus handler.
Under Windows 3.xx the virus hooks WINEXEC, so it infects files that are executed. The virus does that in quite clever way - it immediately passes control to original WINEXEC handler and then infects a file in background, i.e. there is no delay when application are executed under infected environment. That is quite important for the virus because usually Windows 3.xx is installed on old slow PC, and delays on execution may warn a user.
Under Windows95/NT the virus hooks INITTASK, so it intercepts control when programs are registering themselves in the system. The virus then with a help of GetExePtr function gets Module Handles for all NE-application that are active and infects them.
While infecting a file with probability 1/8 (depending on the key that is used to encrypt text strings) the virus modifies its code so that this-time infected file will activate a routine that drops infected email messages to Eudora outbox. When such file is executed in directory where Eudora databases are placed, the virus opens Eudora data files: NNDBASE.TOC, OUT.TOC, OUT.MBX. The first file ("Nick names database") is used by virus to get names of recipients to whom the virus will send an infected message. The infected message is placed to OUT.MBX (Outbox database) and necessary references are placed to OUT.TOC file.
The message itself has a subject "Red Team", contains the text and attached EXE file. The text looks as follows:
Just thought I'd warn you about a destructive new email virus.
Here is some info:
The "Red Team" virus is a complex new computer virus that spreads via
the Microsoft Windows operating system, and Internet email. Although
it is not the first virus to spread via email (that was "Good Times"),
the Red Team virus is unparalelled in its destructive capabilities.
Further more, the virus is exceedingly common - it has already been
reported in much of western Europe, the USA, Russia, Australia, and
Japan. In short, everywhere.We at QUEST, have spent several weeks analysing this virus, and are
proud to anounce that we finally have a cure! The program, named
"K-RTEAM" (Kill Red Team), can be executed in any Microsoft Windows
environment, and will reliably detect (and remove if nescessary)
the Red Team virus from your system buffers.--
QUALCOMM Enterprise Software Technologies
World Wide Web: http://www.qualcomm.com
The reason I thought I should warn you, is that we recently had a
run in with this beast.
Luckily we managed to get a copy of theexcellent 'K-RTEAM' programme before the destruction really started.
Just in case you should suffer the same misfortune, I have includedthis programme for you too.
P.S. Make sure you warn all your friends of this new threat!
This text in the virus body is compressed, so the virus decompresses it before saving to Eudora outbox. The attached EXE file has NE header and is named as K-RTEAM.EXE ("Kill Red Team"), it has 6351 bytes of length. It is infected do-nothing program (the virus creates it on C: drive - C:\K-RTEAM.EXE) that only spreads the virus on computer. At the header and end of this file there are the text strings:
K-RTEAM - Red Team Anti-Virus
Red Team Virus Found!
Could not Remove Virus!
The virus does not send messages twice from the same infected computer. To do that the virus creates the RTBASE.TOC file while sending infected messages. Next time the virus will look for that file and terminate email infection routine, if this file presents in directory.
The virus replicates itself under Windows 3.xx and had no side effects during experiments in lab - all files were infected correctly, the programs were not corrupted and Windows did not display any warning/error messages.
The virus also stored its dropper in Eudora outbox with no problems. The infected messages (with non viral attach, of course) then were sent via Internet and correctly received.
Under Windows95/NT the virus has a problem - it cannot infect KRNL386.EXE and as a result cannot install itself memory resident. The bug is quite stupid - the virus reserves Word (DW) for variable "NE Header Offset", but uses it as DoubleWord (DD). The second Word of that DoubleWord is Windows version flag: 0 if Windows3.xx, FFFFh if Windows95/NT. So under Windows95/NT the virus gets wrong value from that variable.
Despite on this the files that were infected under Windows 3.xx do work under Windows95/NT without any problem and may infect Eudora database as well as under Windows 3.xx. Moreover, that stupid bug may be easily fixed and Windows95 compatible version might be released by virus author.
Note: There exists a VCL variant (VCL.716) which is detected as VCL.Redteam by some scanners. It has nothing to do with this virus.