Threat description




The Sober.X worm was found on November 15th, 2005. This Sober variant is similar to Sober.T, that appeared yesterday:


Like the previous variants, this one sends itself inside a ZIP archive as an attachment in e-mail messages with English or German texts. We also received several different droppers for this worm variant. They were apparently created by the worm author manually. They are all detected as 'Sober.x'.


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.

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

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Technical Details

Sober.Y is written in Visual Basic. The worm's file is a UPX packed PE executable about 55 kilobytes long. The unpacked worm's file size is around 198 kilobytes.

This time the author of Sober worm changed the text string that is used to decrypt data strings in the worm's body, but he did not change the encryption algorithm.


Just after being run by a user the worm shows a fake error messagebox:

Then it creates a subfolder named 'WinSecurity' in Windows folder and copies itself there 3 times with the following names:

  • services.exe
  • csrss.exe
  • smss.exe

In addition the worm creates the following files in the same folder:

  • mssock1.dli
  • mssock2.dli
  • mssock3.dli
  • winmem1.ory
  • winmem2.ory
  • winmem3.ory
  • socket1.ifo
  • socket2.ifo
  • socket3.ifo

The first 6 files are used to store collected e-mail addresses, the last 3 files are used to store the UUEncoded worm's body.

The worm then adds startup keys for the copied "services.exe" file into System Registry:

  • [HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run] " Windows" = "%WinDir%\WinSecurity\services.exe"
  • [HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run] "_Windows" = "%WinDir%\WinSecurity\services.exe"

The Sober.Y worm creates a few empty files in Windows System folder with the following names:

  • nonrunso.ber
  • langeinf.lin
  • runstop.rst
  • rubezahl.rub
  • bbvmwxxf.hml
  • filesms.fms

These files are used to deactivate previous Sober variants. The worm blocks access to its files and re-creates its startup keys in the Registry if they are deleted.

E-mail (Propagation) Sober.Y worm sends e-mail messages with English and German texts and its file attached. The attachment is a ZIP archive containing the worm's executable.

To collect e-mail addresses the worm scans files with the following extensions:

Pmr phtm stm slk inbox imb csv bak imh xhtml imm imh cms nws vcf ctl dhtm cgi pp ppt msg jsp oft vbs uin ldb abc pst cfg mdw mbx mdx mda adp nab fdb vap dsp ade sln dsw mde frm bas adr cls ini ldif log mdb xml wsh tbb abx abd adb pl rtf mmf doc ods nch xls nsf txt wab eml hlp mht nfo php asp shtml dbx The collected e-mail addresses are stored in "mssock*.dli" and "winmem*.ory" files that are created in the same folder where the main worm's executable file is located.

The worm ignores e-mail addresses if they contain any of the following strings:

ntp- ntp@ ntp. test@ @www @from. support smtp- @smtp.

Gold-certs ftp. .dial. .ppp. anyone subscribe announce @gmetref sql. someone nothing you@ user@ reciver@ somebody secure whatever@ whoever@ anywhere yourname mustermann@ .kundenserver. mailer-daemon variabel noreply -dav law2 .sul.t- .qmail@ t-ipconnect t-dialin ipt.aol time freeav @ca. abuse winrar domain. host. viren bitdefender spybot detection ewido. emsisoft linux google @foo. winzip @example. bellcore. @arin mozilla iana@ iana- @iana @avp icrosoft. @sophos @panda @kaspers free-av antivir virus verizon. @ikarus. @nai. @messagelab nlpmail01. clock When the worm sends an e-mail to an address that contains "gmx." domain or has the domain suffix ".de", ".li", ".ch" or ".at", it composes messages in German, otherwise the worm composes messages in English.

It should be noted that along with the "usual" messages that look like fake bounces, password change notifications, Paris Hilton video ads and so on, the worm sends messages that look like they come from FBI or CIA. The From field of such messages contains any of the following:

  • Department@fbi.gov (also can be Office@, Admin@, Mail@, Post@)
  • Department@cia.gov (also can be Office@, Admin@, Mail@, Post@)

The Subject field contains any of the following:

  • You visit illegal websites
  • Your IP was logged

The body text is:

Dear Sir/Madam, we have logged your IP-address on more than 30 illegal Websites. Important:Please answer our questions!
The list of questions are attached. Yours faithfully, Steven Allison *** Federal Bureau of Investigation -FBI- *** 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 3220
*** Washington, DC 20535
*** phone: (202) 324-3000

If the worm uses @cia.gov address, the end of the message is different:

  • ++++ Central Intelligence Agency -CIA-
  • ++++ Office of Public Affairs
  • ++++ Washington, D.C. 20505
  • ++++ phone: (703) 482-0623
  • ++++ 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., US Eastern time

The attachment names can be:

  • question_list.zip
  • list.zip

The similar message in German, but this time from BKA. The From field of such messages contains any of the following:

  • Downloads@bka.bund.de (also can be BKA@, Internet@, Post@, Anzeige@, BKA.Bund@)

The Subject field contains any of the following:

  • Ermittlungsverfahren wurde eingeleitet
  • Sie besitzen Raubkopien

The body text is:

Sehr geehrte Dame, sehr geehrter Herr, das Herunterladen von Filmen, Software und MP3s ist illegal und
somit strafbar. Wir moechten Ihnen hiermit vorab mitteilen, dass
Ihr Rechner unter der IP erfasst wurde. Der Inhalt Ihres Rechner
wurde als Beweismittel sichergestellt und es wird ein
Ermittlungsverfahren gegen Sie eingleitet. Die Strafanzeige und die Moeglichkeit zur Stellungnahme wird
Ihnen in den naechsten Tagen schriftlich zugestellt. Aktenzeichen NR.:# (siehe Anhang) Hochachtungsvoll
i.A. Juergen Stock --- Bundeskriminalamt BKA
--- Referat LS 2
--- 65173 Wiesbaden
--- Tel.: +49 (0)611 - 55 - 12331 oder
--- Tel.: +49 (0)611 - 55 - 0

The attachment name can be:

  • Akte.zip

Here's an example of a message sent by the worm:

The worm's executable file is located inside ZIP archives attached to all infected messages. To get infected a user has to extract and run the worm's file.

Payload Sober.Y worm terminates applications that have the following substrings in their names:

  • microsoftanti
  • gcas
  • gcip
  • giantanti
  • inetupd.
  • nod32kui
  • nod32.
  • fxsbr
  • avwin.
  • guardgui.
  • aswclnr
  • stinger
  • hijack
  • sober
  • brfix
  • s_t_i_n
  • s-t-i-n

Then the worm shows a messagebox that looks like that:

This trick is done to persuade a user that no infection was detected on his computer by his anti-virus or a virus removal tool.

The worm can also download and run files on an infected computer.

In addition the worm contacts numerous time servers to syncronize its activities.

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