[ISN] Microsoft, law enforcement officials pursuing Sasser author

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Tue May 4 07:21:36 EDT 2004


By Paul Roberts
MAY 03, 2004 

Microsoft Corp. is working with law enforcement to find the author of
the Sasser worm, which first appeared on Friday and targets machines
running the company's Windows operating system.

Microsoft said it's working closely with authorities, including the
Northwest CyberCrime Taskforce, to analyze Sasser's code and "identify
those responsible for this malicious activity." The investigation is
ongoing, according to Microsoft.

Sasser exploits a recently disclosed hole in a component of Windows
called the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service, or LSASS.  
Microsoft released a software patch, MS04-011, on April 13 that plugs
the LSASS hole.

Sasser is similar to an earlier worm, Blaster, in that users don't
need to receive an e-mail message or open a file to be infected.  
Instead, just having a vulnerable Windows machine connected to the
Internet with communications Port 445 is enough to get infected.

Microsoft issued a statement yesterday saying that it is working with
the task force to analyze malicious code in Sasser and in a Trojan
program called Agobot, which was also modified to take advantage of
the LSASS vulnerability.

The task force is a joint effort of the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service
and local law enforcement agencies in Washington state, where
Microsoft is based.

Microsoft referred questions about the investigation to the task
force. Calls to the FBI, the Secret Service and the Seattle police
weren't immediately returned.

The company also announced other steps it's taking to lessen the
damage caused by Sasser, which is estimated to have infected hundreds
of thousands of Windows XP and Windows 2000 machines on the Internet.

Microsoft released a free software program to clean Windows systems
infected with Sasser. The company also published information on how to
configure firewalls to stop the worm's spread and encouraged customers
to enable their personal firewalls and install the Microsoft Windows
patch that fixes the vulnerability Sasser exploits.

Besides working with law enforcement, Microsoft also offers bounties
for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for major
viruses and worms. In November, the company announced that it was
allocating $5 million to a reward fund for the arrest of virus
authors. In January, it offered a $250,000 reward for information
leading to the arrest and conviction of the author of the Mydoom.B

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