Threat Explorer

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14 December 2004
13 February 2007
Also Known As:
Trojan.VBS.Spore.a [Kaspersky]
Systems Affected:

VBS.Sorpe.A@mm is a mass-mailing worm that sends itself to email addresses gathered from files on the infected computer.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version 14 December 2004
  • Latest Rapid Release version 28 September 2010 revision 054
  • Initial Daily Certified version 14 December 2004
  • Latest Daily Certified version 28 September 2010 revision 036
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date 14 December 2004
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

When VBS.Sorpe.A@mm is executed, it performs the following actions:

  1. Uninstalls any process that contains the strings "Script" and "Block" in its name.

  2. Drops and executes %System%\Tskmgr32.vbs to terminate any process named Taskmgr.exe.

    Note: %System% is a variable that refers to the System folder. By default this is C:\Windows\System (Windows 95/98/Me), C:\Winnt\System32 (Windows NT/2000), or C:\Windows\System32 (Windows XP).

  3. Drops and executes the following files:
    • %System%\User32.reg
    • %System%\SysReg.reg

  4. Creates the following copies of itself:
    • %System%\MsNews.vbs
    • %Windir% \SysLogs\Syslog32.vbs
    • %ProgramFiles%\WindowsUpdate\Wupdmgr.tmp\Wupdscn.vbs

    • %ProgramFiles% is a variable that refers to the program files folder. By default, this is C:\Program Files.
    • %Windir% is a variable that refers to the Windows installation folder. By default, this is C:\Windows (Windows 95/98/Me/XP)or C:\Winnt (Windows NT/2000).

  5. Adds the value:

    "Spore" = "%System%\MsNews.vbs"

    to the registry key:


    so that the worm executes every time Windows starts.

  6. Adds the value:

    "DisallowRun" = "1"

    to the registry key:


  7. Adds the values:

    "1" = "regedit.exe"
    "2" = "notepad.exe"
    "3" = "wordpad.exe"
    "4" = "write.exe"
    "5" = "wuauclt.exe"

    to the registry key:


    to prevent the files dropped by the threat being read by the 5 text editors listed.

  8. Gathers email addresses from the files on fixed and network drives that have the following file extensions:
    • asp
    • doc
    • hta
    • hte
    • htm
    • html
    • htt
    • htx
    • rtf
    • shtml
    • stm
    • txt
    • xml

  9. Sends a copy of itself to the email addresses it gathers, using CDO messaging. The email has the following properties:


    To: (spoofed)

    Subject: (One of the following)
    • Microsoft Updates News
    • Security Updates News
    • Service Pack 2 Updates News
    • System Updates News
    • Microsoft Operating System Updates News
    • Microsoft Security Updates News
    • Microsoft Update News Letter
    • Microsoft News
    • Update News
    • Microsoft`s big security Update News

      Message Body:
      Service pack 2 is due soon for microsoft users, Bug fixes, Internet Explorer patches and NEW security features. Please read more from the file attcahed to this microsoft news letter.

      Attachment name: MsNews.vbs

  10. Displays the following message on the 01/01/2005:

    Vbs.Spore@mm  (c) 2004

    W A R N I N G :
    Your system resources is in a critical state. To avoid any damages to your system or files, Please restart your computer or contact the system administrator.

  11. Sends an email to antivirus vendors. The email has the following properties:


    To: (One of the following)

      Subject: (One of the following)
    • A strange vbs file on my pc..!!
    • Is this vbs file appart of windows operating system..??
    • I found a vbs virus on my pc.!!
    • HELP.. i`ve been infected with a vbs virus..
    • I think i have a vbs virus..??
    • HELP... vbs virus infection..!!!  
    • Here is a new vbs virus i found..!!
    • My system has been infected with a vbs file..!!
    • Not again, I`ve just been infected again.. (vbs)
    • My pc is acting strange..??

      Message Body:
      I found this vbs file on my pc. But i`m not too sure if it is a virus so i am sending you a copy for safety reasons..!


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.

The following instructions pertain to all current and recent Symantec antivirus products, including the Symantec AntiVirus and Norton AntiVirus product lines.
  1. Disable System Restore (Windows Me/XP).
  2. Update the virus definitions.
  3. Run a full system scan and delete all the files detected as VBS.Sorpe.A@mm.
  4. Delete the value that was added to the registry.
For specific details on each of these steps, read the following instructions.

1. To disable System Restore (Windows Me/XP)
If you are running Windows Me or Windows XP, we recommend that you temporarily turn off System Restore. Windows Me/XP uses this feature, which is enabled by default, to restore the files on your computer in case they become damaged. If a virus, worm, or Trojan infects a computer, System Restore may back up the virus, worm, or Trojan on the computer.

Windows prevents outside programs, including antivirus programs, from modifying System Restore. Therefore, antivirus programs or tools cannot remove threats in the System Restore folder. As a result, System Restore has the potential of restoring an infected file on your computer, even after you have cleaned the infected files from all the other locations.

Also, a virus scan may detect a threat in the System Restore folder even though you have removed the threat.

For instructions on how to turn off System Restore, read your Windows documentation, or one of the following articles:

When you are completely finished with the removal procedure and are satisfied that the threat has been removed, re-enable System Restore by following the instructions in the aforementioned documents.

For additional information, and an alternative to disabling Windows Me System Restore, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article, "Antivirus Tools Cannot Clean Infected Files in the _Restore Folder ," Article ID: Q263455.

2. To update the virus definitions
Symantec Security Response fully tests all the virus definitions for quality assurance before they are posted to our servers. There are two ways to obtain the most recent virus definitions:
  • Running LiveUpdate, which is the easiest way to obtain virus definitions: These virus definitions are posted to the LiveUpdate servers once each week (usually on Wednesdays), unless there is a major virus outbreak. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by LiveUpdate, refer to the Virus Definitions (LiveUpdate).
  • Downloading the definitions using the Intelligent Updater: The Intelligent Updater virus definitions are posted daily. You should download the definitions from the Symantec Security Response Web site and manually install them. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by the Intelligent Updater, refer to the Virus Definitions (Intelligent Updater).

    The Intelligent Updater virus definitions are available: Read "How to update virus definition files using the Intelligent Updater" for detailed instructions.

3. To scan for and delete the infected files
  1. Start your Symantec antivirus program and make sure that it is configured to scan all the files.
  2. Run a full system scan.
  3. If any files are detected as infected with VBS.Sorpe.A@mm, click Delete.

    If your Symantec antivirus product reports that it cannot delete an infected file, Windows may be using the file. To fix this, run the scan in Safe mode. For instructions, read the document, "How to start the computer in Safe Mode." Once you have restarted in Safe mode, run the scan again.

    (After the files are deleted, you can leave the computer in Safe mode and proceed with section 4. When that is done, restart the computer in Normal mode.)
  4. Navigate to and delete the following non- viral Files:
    • %System%\User32.reg
    • %System%\SysReg.reg

4. To delete the value from the registry
Symantec strongly recommends that you back up the registry before making any changes to it. Incorrect changes to the registry can result in permanent data loss or corrupted files. Modify the specified keys only. Read the document, "How to make a backup of the Windows registry ," for instructions.
  1. Click Start > Run.
  2. Type regedit

    Then click OK.

  3. Navigate to the key:


  4. In the right pane, delete the value:

    "Spore" = "%System%\MsNews.vbs"

  5. Navigate to the key:


  6. In the right pane, delete the value:

    "DisallowRun" = "1"

  7. Navigate to the key:


  8. In the right pane, delete the value:

    "1" = "regedit.exe"
    "2" = "notepad.exe"
    "3" = "wordpad.exe"
    "4" = "write.exe"
    "5" = "wuauclt.exe"

  9. Exit the Registry Editor.

Writeup By: Kevin Ha