Threat Explorer

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17 September 1999
13 February 2007
Also Known As:
Bloodhound.File.String, VBS.Happy

VBS.Avm is a VBScript virus that attempts to copy itself to .vbs files on the infected computer. The virus also uses Microsoft Outlook to send email to an anonymous email address and to an antivirus researcher.

Edited for style. Change forward slashes to back slashes in the registry entry.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version 21 September 1999
  • Latest Rapid Release version 28 September 2010 revision 054
  • Initial Daily Certified version 21 September 1999
  • Latest Daily Certified version 28 September 2010 revision 036
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date pending
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

When executed, the virus uses Microsoft Outlook to send email to the authors of the virus. The email contains the IP address of the infected computer. The virus also emails a humorous message to a known antivirus researcher.

The virus attempts to append itself to all .vbs files in the current path, \Windows\Desktop, \StartUp, \MyDocuments, and all root folders. The virus creates a copy of itself in the \Windows folder as Avm.vbs and it adds the value


to the registry key

    The virus is executed each time that the computer is started. This virus was originally dropped by the W97M.Coldape macro virus, but it can spread independently.

    Variant Information
    Variants have been found to consist of only the email routine, only the replication routine, and both the email and replication routine.

    Microsoft Word documents infected with the W97M.Coldape virus may be detected as VBS.Avm. These documents are corrupted and must be replaced with known clean backups.


    Symantec Security Response encourages all users and administrators to adhere to the following basic security "best practices":

    • Use a firewall to block all incoming connections from the Internet to services that should not be publicly available. By default, you should deny all incoming connections and only allow services you explicitly want to offer to the outside world.
    • Enforce a password policy. Complex passwords make it difficult to crack password files on compromised computers. This helps to prevent or limit damage when a computer is compromised.
    • Ensure that programs and users of the computer use the lowest level of privileges necessary to complete a task. When prompted for a root or UAC password, ensure that the program asking for administration-level access is a legitimate application.
    • Disable AutoPlay to prevent the automatic launching of executable files on network and removable drives, and disconnect the drives when not required. If write access is not required, enable read-only mode if the option is available.
    • Turn off file sharing if not needed. If file sharing is required, use ACLs and password protection to limit access. Disable anonymous access to shared folders. Grant access only to user accounts with strong passwords to folders that must be shared.
    • Turn off and remove unnecessary services. By default, many operating systems install auxiliary services that are not critical. These services are avenues of attack. If they are removed, threats have less avenues of attack.
    • If a threat exploits one or more network services, disable, or block access to, those services until a patch is applied.
    • Always keep your patch levels up-to-date, especially on computers that host public services and are accessible through the firewall, such as HTTP, FTP, mail, and DNS services.
    • Configure your email server to block or remove email that contains file attachments that are commonly used to spread threats, such as .vbs, .bat, .exe, .pif and .scr files.
    • Isolate compromised computers quickly to prevent threats from spreading further. Perform a forensic analysis and restore the computers using trusted media.
    • Train employees not to open attachments unless they are expecting them. Also, do not execute software that is downloaded from the Internet unless it has been scanned for viruses. Simply visiting a compromised Web site can cause infection if certain browser vulnerabilities are not patched.
    • If Bluetooth is not required for mobile devices, it should be turned off. If you require its use, ensure that the device's visibility is set to "Hidden" so that it cannot be scanned by other Bluetooth devices. If device pairing must be used, ensure that all devices are set to "Unauthorized", requiring authorization for each connection request. Do not accept applications that are unsigned or sent from unknown sources.
    • For further information on the terms used in this document, please refer to the Security Response glossary.

    To remove this virus from the computer, you need to scan for and delete infected files, and then remove the registry entry that was created by the virus.

    To delete infected files:
    Files infected by VBS.Avm cannot be repaired and must be deleted.
    1. Run LiveUpdate to make sure that you have the most recent virus definitions.
    2. Start Norton AntiVirus (NAV), and then run a full system scan, making sure that NAV is set to scan all files.
    3. If any files are detected as infected by VBS.Avm, click Delete.

    To edit the registry:

    CAUTION : We strongly recommend that you back up the system registry before making any changes. Incorrect changes to the registry could result in permanent data loss or corrupted files. Please make sure you modify only the keys specified. Please see the document How to back up the Windows registry before proceeding.
    1. Click Start, and click Run. The Run dialog box appears.
    2. Type regedit and then click OK. The Registry Editor opens.
    3. Navigate to the following subkey:

    4. In the right pane, select the following value, press Delete, and then click Yes to confirm:

    5. Click Registry and then click Exit to save the changes and close the Registry Editor.
    6. Restart the computer.

    Writeup By: Eric Chien