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23 May 2001
13 February 2007
Also Known As:

VBS.Bother.3180 is a script that uses ActiveX controls to perform malicious actions on your computer. The script modifies the default home page in Internet Explorer. It also appends itself to all the .htm and .html files it finds in the \My Documents and \Windows\Web folders. If the day of the month matches a random number, the default icon for the .html files is changed.

Note: Virus definitions dated prior to February 12, 2004 detect this threat as HTML.Bother.3180.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version 23 May 2001
  • Latest Rapid Release version 28 September 2010 revision 054
  • Initial Daily Certified version 23 May 2001
  • 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.

VBS.Bother.3180 is a viral script and not a worm. When the .html file is opened in Internet Explorer, the following message appears, and you are asked to allow the ActiveX control to run:

You need ActiveX enabled if you want to see this page.
Please open this page again and click accept ActiveX.
Internet Explorer

If you click No, the script does not run and does not infect the system. The script does not infect the systems that use Netscape Navigator as the default browser.

If you allow the ActiveX control to run, or if you are using low security settings for Internet Explorer, the script will perform its malicious actions:
  1. First, it creates the Hello.txt file on the Windows desktop. This is a two-line text file that contains information about the origin of the script. There is no viral code present in this file, and the file should be deleted.

  2. Next, the script creates the PetiK.htm file in the \Windows\System folder. This file is set as the default home page for Internet Explorer. It contains your actual home page in a small scrollable frame, and beneath it, the script displays the following message:

    Hi, you have my Worm.
    It's not dangerous.
    Contact Symantec Corporation ( to disinfect your computer.

  3. The script also searches for the .htm and .html files in both the \My Documents and the \Windows\Web folders. If the .htm and .html files are found in these folders, the script checks for its infection marker. If the files have not been infected, the script will append its code to the end of the file, and leave a marker at the beginning of the file for future scanning purposes.

  4. Finally, the script generates a random number, and if that number matches the current day of the month, the script will change the default icon for the .html files.


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.

Norton AntiVirus will properly repair the .htm and .html files that VBS.Bother.3180 infected. The files detected as VBS.Bother.3180.dr are the original dropper file, and should be deleted.

Removing the virus
  1. Run LiveUpdate to make sure that you have the most recent virus definitions.
  2. Start Norton AntiVirus and run a full system scan, making sure that Norton AntiVirus is set to scan all the files.
  3. If any files are detected as VBS.Bother.3180, click Repair. Delete any files detected as VBS.Bother.3180.dr.
  4. Delete the Hello.txt file from the Windows desktop.
  5. Using Windows Explorer, locate and delete the \Windows\System\PetiK.htm file.

Restoring the Internet Explorer Start Page
  1. Start Internet Explorer, and then go the Web page that you want to set as your home page.
  2. Click Tools, and then click Internet Options.
  3. In the Home page section of the General tab, click "Use Current."

Writeup By: Brian Ewell