Origins: The "Storm Worm" (so named because the spam e-mail messages that carried it commonly bore the subject line "230 dead as storm batters Europe") began hitting computers around the world in mid-January 2007. The malicious payload it carries (which may be one of several, including Trojan.Peacomm or
Win32.Small.DAM, a variant of Win32.Small) affects most Windows-based platforms (i.e., Windows 2000, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP)
and is spread as an attachment to e-mail messages, one that installs a Trojan horse onto the message recipient's computer.
The Storm Worm may arrive in a message with any of the following subject lines (intended to lure the recipient into reading the message by offering a political headline of great interest):
F.B.I. vs. Facebook
Strongest earthquake hits Beijing
Death toll in China exceeds 1000000
Recent china earthquake kills million
230 dead as storm batters Europe.
A killer at 11, he's free at 21 and...
British Muslims Genocide
Naked teens attack home director.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has kicked German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Russian missle shot down Chinese satellite
Russian missle shot down USA aircraft
Russian missle shot down USA satellite
Chinese missile shot down USA aircraft
Chinese missile shot down USA satellite
Sadam Hussein alive!
Sadam Hussein safe and sound!
Radical Muslim drinking enemies' blood.
U.S. Southwest braces for another winter blast. More then 1000 people are dead.
Venezuelan leader: "Let's the War beginning".
Hugo Chavez dead.
President of Russia Putin dead.
Third World War just have started!.
The Supreme Court has been attacked by terrorists. Sen. Mark Dayton dead!.
The commander of a U.S. nuclear submarine lunch the rocket by mistake..
First Nuclear Act of Terrorism!.
So in Love
Happy World Religion Day!
Most Beautiful Girl
Someone at Last
The Dance of Love
The Miracle of Love
All For You
I am Complete
A Little (sex) Card
A Special Kiss
Hugging My Pillow
Safe and Sound
You're Soo kissable
A Romantic Place
Breakfast in Bed Coupon
I Love You So
Want to Meet?
We Are Different
We Have Walked
You Asked Me Why
The attachment filename may be any of the following:
In April 2007 a new variant of Trojan.Peacomm was unleashed on the Internet, this one varying from the previous "Storm worm" attack in that the attachments carrying the payload were password-protected .ZIP files (which recipients were tricked into unzipping and running to putatively protect themselves from some other worm). E-mails containing this variant typically had subject lines such as the following:
Virus Activity Detected!
Worm Activity Detected!
The underlying worm is the same one that has appeared in messages with subject lines as "You've received an e-card from an admirer," the
"Laughing Kitty," the "Dancing Skeleton," as well as several game and music download offers. According to spamtrackers.eu:
The storm network is large enough to cut off internet access from any
institution its operators choose to attack via a "distributed denial of
service attack," in which hundreds or thousands of computers request files
from a server simultaneously. The entire country of Estonia was brought
down that way last year. The network is actually available for rent for
anyone who wishes to use it to send spam, host illegal websites, or stage
denial of service attacks.
Storm is a serious threat for several reasons. It communicates
"peer-to-peer" instead of via a "command and control" network. For that
reason, you can't just disable a few computers that are feeding
instructions to the others. The virus download is encrypted, so it is
difficult for antivirus programs to recognize, and infected computers are
updated by the peer network on a daily basis to keep antivirus programs
from recognizing it once they are updated to recognize previous editions
of the virus. The number of
infections worldwide is massive, and a quarter of them are on major
networks in the US like SBC, Comcast, and Roadrunner. That means that a
bank or other business under denial of service attack can't simply block
all traffic from certain segments of the internet, because it would be
blocking its own users that are sharing those same internet addresses with
storm infected computers as they log in and out of the internet. It is
believed that Storm's operators are located in St. Petersburg, Russia, are
known to the Russian government, and enjoy its protection.
Since antivirus programs will not protect your computer, the most
important thing is for people to be extremely suspicious about where they
go and what they click on. Never click on any link in an email from
someone you don't know. Never click on a link in an advertisement on the
internet — if you want to visit that site, look up the address yourself.
Additional information on the Storm Worm (including disinfection/removal instructions) may be found at F-Secure.
Last updated: 1 August 2008
Reuters. "'Storm Worm' Hits Computers Around the World."
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.