Witty uses a vulnerability in ICQ instant messaging protocol parsing routines of the ISS Protocol Analysis Module (PAM). More information on the vulnerability and the affected products is available from
The size of the worm suggests that it has been hand-written in assembly programming language. Witty is highly dependent on the version of the vulnerable DLL. It uses direct offsets to the DLL which change between versions.
The center of the code is a tight loop that generates UDP packets with the worm as payload. Characteristics of the packets:
Source port: 4000
Destination port: random
Size: random, between 768 and 1280 Bytes
Witty sends the UDP packets to 20000 random IP addresses. After completing the loop it opens one of the eight first physical drives and writes 64KiB of the vulnerable DLL to the disk. The intention of the author seems to be to write the data to a random place on the disk. Due to the DLL version dependency in some cases one of the API calls goes to an incorrect address and the worm overwrites the first 64KiB instead.
When the write operation is completed the worm restarts the UDP packet sending loop and iterates indefinitely. It will stop when the computer is restarted or the worm crashes.
The worm contains the following text:
(^.^)insert witty message here(^.^)