Table of Contents
Previous Section Next Section

8.4. Somewhat Destructive Payload

Other viruses are somewhat destructive. For instance, the W95/HPS virus checks the date during initialization time only, and it will activate only on a Saturday. If a noncompressed Windows bitmap file has been opened, the virus flips the picture horizontally, as shown in Figure 8.5.

Figure 8.5. The activation routine of the W95/HPS virus.


HPS marks these flipped images by patching the ID - DEADBABEh to the end of the bitmap header area to avoid flipping the same image again. Thus, the virus never restores these images. This is somewhat more destructive than the activation routine of the DOS virus, Flip, which flips the characters onscreen but does so only temporarily. Because noncompressed bitmap files are used frequently by Windows, HPS can cause all kinds of weird effectsyou need to look at those flipped images in a mirror to make sense of them.

There are some viruses that attempt to target a single executable (most likely an antivirus program). For example, the AntiEXE virus carries a detection string in itself to detect and destroy any executable that contains the string. Other applications are never affected. AntiEXE is most likely a retro virus of an earlier kind. Retro viruses all belong to the mildly destructive class. They attack the antivirus and other security software, such as personal firewall programs, by killing them in memory and deleting them from the disk.

In some cases, retro viruses simply send a "Windows shutdown" message to a selected program, forcing the application to think it needs to exit before Windows shuts down. Of course, Windows will not shut down, but the protection unloads, allowing the execution of any other known attacks that would have been prevented by the installed protection.

Another example of a mildly damaging virus is WM/Wazzu.A. This macro virus was extremely common in 1996 due to the fact that even Microsoft's Web site and a couple of CDs issued by Microsoft were infected with it. Wazzu randomly scrambles three words in documents and inserts the word wazzu into sentences. Morton Swimmer of IBM Research published an entertaining paper on playing the "Where is Wazzu?" game on the Internet using search engines. Because this virus was extremely widespread, many companies published documents on their Web sites that had been mildly damaged by Wazzu.

    Table of Contents
    Previous Section Next Section