Threat Explorer

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06 June 2002
13 February 2007
Also Known As:
VBS/ [McAfee], VBS_VBSWG.AQ [Trend], VBS/VBSWG-AQ [Sophos], VBSWG.AQ [F-Secure], VBS.VBSWG.AQ [CA], VBS/VBSWG.AQ@mm [Norman], Worm/Shakira [Vexira]
Systems Affected:

This threat was previously a zoo detection added on May 28, 2002. It was discovered in-the-wild on June 6, 2002.

VBS.VBSWG.AQ@mm is a VBScript threat that is designed to send itself as ShakiraPics.jpg.vbs to users of Microsoft Outlook or IRC. This threat also overwrites .vbs and .vbe files with its own code. The email has the following characteristics:

Subject: Shakira's Pictures
Hi :
i have sent the photos via attachment
have funn...
Attachment: ShakiraPics.jpg.vbs

NOTE: This threat was previously a zoo detection discovered in the wild on June 6, 2002.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version 29 May 2002
  • Latest Rapid Release version 08 August 2016 revision 023
  • Initial Daily Certified version 29 May 2002
  • Latest Daily Certified version 09 August 2016 revision 001
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date 29 May 2002
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

This threat was created using a construction kit known as VBSWG. The kit enables the worm's author to choose how to distribute the file and what the file name will be when it is distributed. In the sample that Symantec Security Response received, the author chose to use Microsoft Outlook and mIRC as the distribution mechanism. The author intended this threat to be known as VBS.Shakira, as evidenced by the following comment line that precedes all instructions in the script:

'Vbs.ShakiraPics Created By TGK

If VBS.VBSWG.AQ@mm is executed, it does the following:

It copies itself into the \%Windows% folder as ShakiraPics.jpg.vbs.

NOTE: %Windows% is a variable. The worm locates the \Windows folder (by default this is C:\Windows or C:\Winnt) and copies itself to that location.

It adds the value

Registry       wscript.exe C:\WINNT\ShakiraPics.jpg.vbs %

to the registry key


Next, it searches for .vbs and .vbe files on all available drives (including floppy disks and other removable media) and attempts to overwrite them with its own code.

It then attempts to use Microsoft Outlook to send itself to your contacts. The email message is in this format:

Subject: Shakira's Pictures

Hi :
i have sent the photos via attachment
have funn...

Attachment: ShakiraPics.jpg.vbs

This threat overwrites the mIRC configuration file (Script.ini), so that it sends a copy of itself when you join a chat server.

  • If this threat sends itself using Outlook, it creates the following registry entry noting that it has run the routine:

    "mailed" = "1"
  • If it has modified mIRC in order to send itself, it modifies the registry to note that the routine has run:
    "mirqued" = "1"

When this threat has finished executing, it displays this message:


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 worm:
  • Run a full system scan, and delete files that are detected as VBS.VBSWG.AQ@mm.
  • Remove the value

    Registry     wscript.exe C:\WINNT\ShakiraPics.jpg.vbs %

    from the registry key


For details on how to do this, read the following instructions:

To scan for and delete the worm:
  1. Obtain the most recent virus definitions. There are two ways to do this:
    • Run LiveUpdate. LiveUpdate is the easiest way to obtain virus definitions. These virus definitions have undergone full quality assurance testing by Symantec Security Response and are posted to the LiveUpdate servers one time each week (usually Wednesdays) unless there is a major virus outbreak. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by LiveUpdate, look at the Virus Definitions (LiveUpdate) line at the top of this write-up.
    • Download the definitions using the Intelligent Updater. Intelligent Updater virus definitions have undergone full quality assurance testing by Symantec Security Response. They are posted on U.S. business days (Monday through Friday). They must be downloaded from the Symantec Security Response Web site and installed manually. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by the Intelligent Updater, look at the Virus Definitions (Intelligent Updater) line at the top of this write-up.

      Intelligent Updater virus definitions are available here. For detailed instructions on how to download and install the Intelligent Updater virus definitions from the Symantec Security Response Web site, click here.
  2. Start Norton AntiVirus (NAV), and make sure that NAV is configured to scan all files.
  3. Run a full system scan.
  4. Delete all files that are detected as VBS.VBSWG.AQ@mm.

To remove the value from the registry:

CAUTION : Symantec strongly recommends that you back up the registry before you make any changes to it. Incorrect changes to the registry can result in permanent data loss or corrupted files. Modify only the keys that are specified. Read the document How to make a backup of the Windows registry for instructions.
  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 key:

  4. In the right pane, delete the following value:

    Registry     wscript.exe C:\WINNT\ShakiraPics.jpg.vbs %
  5. Click Registry, and click Exit.

Writeup By: Patrick Nolan