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05 November 2000
13 February 2007
Also Known As:

VBS.Godzilla.A@m is very similar to WScript.KakWorm. This worm spreads using Microsoft Outlook Express. It attaches itself to all outgoing messages using the Signature feature of Outlook Express and Internet Explorer newsgroup reader.

The worm utilizes a known Microsoft Outlook Express security hole so that the viral files Update.hta and Sign.html are created on the system without having to run any attachment. Simply reading the received email message causes the virus to be placed on the system.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version 06 November 2000
  • Latest Rapid Release version 08 August 2016 revision 023
  • Initial Daily Certified version 06 November 2000
  • Latest Daily Certified version 09 August 2016 revision 001
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date pending
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

The worm appends itself to the end of legitimate outgoing messages as a signature. When receiving the message, the worm automatically creates a copy of itself in the C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp folder. Users who have Windows installed in a different path are not affected.

The worm utilizes a known Microsoft Outlook Express security hole, Scriptlet.Typelib, so that the viral files Update.hta and Sign.html are created on the system without having to run any attachment. Simply reading the email message causes the virus to be placed on the system.

Microsoft has patched this security hole. The patch is available on the Microsoft Web site . If you have a patched version of Outlook Express, the worm does not work automatically.

HTA files are executed by current versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. The system must be restarted for this file to be executed. Once executed, the worm obtains the Default User ID for Outlook Express and modifies the registry key

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{Default User ID}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook\Express\5.0\Signatures

to add its own signature file, which is the infected Sign.html file. This causes all outgoing mail and newsgroup messages to be appended with the worm.

Finally, if the date is October 10, the following message is displayed after the computer starts:

Have you danced with the devil in the moonlight?


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 the VBS.Godzilla.A@m virus:
  1. Delete the Update.hta and Sign.html files.
  2. Reset your Outlook Express signature or remove the one that has been added. You can run Regedit.exe to modify the registry.
  3. Delete the value of Default Signature in the following registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{Default User ID}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0\Signatures
  4. Remove the entire \00000123 key.
  5. Reset your signature by running Outlook Express.

Writeup By: Brian Ewell