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Symantec discovers malicious code

Symantec discovers malicious code targeting Microsoft PCT vulnerability

Wed, 28 April 2004

Symantec has discovered malicious code that targets the Microsoft Windows Private Communications Transport Protocol (PCT) vulnerability. This vulnerability is present on unpatched Windows NT, 2000, XP and Windows Server 2003 systems.

The malicious code -- currently called backdoor.mipsiv -- opens ports on the victim's system, implements a denial-of-service attack against a third-party DNS server system and also receives command/control instructions via Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels.

Symantec has detected attempts at compromising systems on our monitored global sensor network and has raised its ThreatCon Rating to Level 3 as a precautionary measure. Symantec Security Response experts are currently analyzing the heavily encrypted code and will provide more details as they become available. The team is also determining if the code is a worm or a bot. Bot -- short for roBot -- is a program used on the Internet that performs repetitive functions including searching for news or information.

"Symantec is currently analyzing automated sample code that takes advantage of the MS PCT vulnerability," said Vincent Weafer, senior director, Symantec Security Response. "We're seeing an increase in the number of exploits attempts and an increase in reconnaissance attacks through our DeepSight sensors and Managed Security Services devices . We highly encourage our customers to expedite their patching if they haven't already."

The Microsoft PCT vulnerability affects all IIS Web servers running Microsoft IIS with SSL enabled. Windows 2003 server is not vulnerable unless the PCT protocol has been enabled by the administrator. Users should install the patch immediately. If it is not possible, they can disable the PCT protocol in the registry. Additionally, vulnerability assessment and intrusion detection systems can be deployed to detect the presence of the vulnerability and/or the presence of the exploit. For more information about this vulnerability: http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/security/Content/10116.html.

ENDS

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