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Malicious Version of Code Red Worm Emerges

The Code Red saga dragged on this week as systems that remained unpatched were hit with a more malicious version of the worm.

Microsoft Corp. et. al. continued to warn Internet Information Services users to apply the several-months-old patch to their Windows NT/Windows 2000/Windows XP systems.

The SANS Institute upgraded its threat assessment to Orange, one level down from its most severe rating.

The rating was based on the new Code Red II's ability to create a backdoor into servers. The original Code Red worm exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft Index Server that gave the code control of the system, but all the worm system did was propagate itself during the first 19 calendar days of the month, deface English-language Web pages and launch a denial-of-service attack against www.whitehouse.gov from the 20th through 28th calendar days of the month.

SANS on Tuesday offered a clarification of the various versions of the worm cut loose so far.

The original performed the Web page defacement, propagation and DoS attack. A version 2, as opposed to Code Red II, skipped the Web page defacement and caused the huge ramp-up in the worm's spread that occurred July 19.

A third version was very similar to version 2, but with an optimized target IP selection method to make it propagate faster.

Code Red II, with its backdoor creation, is a fourth variation on the Code Red theme.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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