[ISN] Arrested Zotob Hacker Also Wrote Mytob Worms

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Tue Aug 30 02:31:28 EDT 2005


By Gregg Keizer 
TechWeb News 
Aug. 29, 2005 

One of the two men arrested last week on charges of creating and
mailing the Zotob bot worm also authored some, but not all, of the
many Mytob worms in circulation, a security firm said Monday.  
Finnish anti-virus vendor F-Secure identified Farid Essebar, 18, who
was arrested by Moroccan authorities, as the author of some Mytobs.

"We know that [Essebar] had also authored several of the Mytob
variants since February this year," F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen wrote on
the company's blog. "However, he's not behind all of them."

Early analysis by others, including Ken Dunham, senior engineer with
VeriSign iDefense, pegged Zotob and Mytob as close relations. "Hackers
took the Mytob worm code and replaced the e-mail function in Mytob
with the exploit of the MS05-039 vulnerability," said Dunham two weeks
ago when the Zotob attack first began.

While there have been too many variants of Mytob for one individual to
create -- Symantec's count is above 200 -- Hypponen made note of other
clues that tie Essebar, who went by the hacker nickname of 'Diabl0,'
to Mytob.

"We know Diablo aka Farid Essebar, was associated with '0x90-Team.'
For example, some earlier Mytob variants downloaded additional
components"said Hypponen.

The 0x90-Team had been operating as an underground gathering place for
bot authors, Hypponen added. As of Monday, however, the site was

That Essebar/Diabl0 wasn't the only Mytob hacker was evident Monday as
several security firms, including Symantec, identified a brand-new
Mytob variant. Dubbed "Mytob.jh," the worm opens a backdoor to the
infected PC, blocks access to numerous security sites, and tries to
disable more than 560 different security programs.

The arrest of Essebar and his cohort, Atilla Ekici, won't put a stop
to either Mytob or similar bots, such as the pervasive IRCbot.

"Several people have access to Mytob source code and have been making
their own variants," said Hypponen. "And there are the competing
groups, such as "m00p," who seem to be behind several of the IRCbot
variants that were using PnP [Plug and Play] vulnerability to spread."

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