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20 April 2001
13 February 2007

VBS.Zeichen.A is a Trojan horse written in Visual Basic Script (VBS). It pretends to be a script that obtains URLs to the sites with porno-related contents. When executed, it appends malicious commands to the C:\Autoexec.bat and shuts down Windows. After the computer is restarted, the commands that were added to the Autoexec.bat file perform a hidden format of drives C and D without prompting and without the ability to unformat. The malicious payload works only under Windows 95, 98, and Me.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version 20 April 2001
  • Latest Rapid Release version 28 September 2010 revision 054
  • Initial Daily Certified version 20 April 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.Zeichen.A is a polymorphic Visual Basic Script. It contains the following comments in German:

Um in den Genuß der wirklich guten Preteen URL`s zu kommen,
einfach nur Doppelklick auf diese Datei ausführen.
Die URL`s sind hier verschlüsselt, damit keine andere Person
sehen kann, worum es hier geht.

When executed, it modifies autoexec.bat to delete all files from the C and D drives at startup. The script then restarts Windows. When the system is restarted, the following message is displayed under DOS:

{{{ The only Warning from {{{ ^_int21h_^ }}} Never touch Kid's }}}

When these strings are displayed, the hidden formatting of drives C and D is initiated with no prompting, no display of other messages, and no ability to unformat.


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 Trojan:
  1. Run LiveUpdate to make sure that you have the most recent virus definitions.
  2. Start Norton AntiVirus (NAV), and run a full system scan, making sure that NAV is set to scan all files.
  3. Delete any files detected as VBS.Zeichen.A and BAT.Zeichen.192.

Writeup By: Serghei Sevcenco