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RE: Compromised WinXP box prob
Mar 17 2008 06:59PM
Jay (jay tomas infosecguru com)
You need to consider the liability of imaging of clients data . If you are at some point compromised or there is a physical theft you are placing your business and the client at risk.
----- Original Message -----
From: Robert S. Slifkin [mailto:rob (at) SLIFKIN (dot) NET [email concealed]]
To: focus-ms (at) securityfocus (dot) com [email concealed]
Sent: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 13:41:41 -0400
Subject: RE: Compromised WinXP box prob
I agree, imaging if possible and a wipe is probably the best option.
Forensic analysis never hurts, but it shouldn't be done at the expense
of the customer (convenience, time to fix, etc).
Robert S. Slifkin
Email: Rob (at) slifkin (dot) net [email concealed]
From: listbounce (at) securityfocus (dot) com [email concealed] [mailto:listbounce (at) securityfocus (dot) com [email concealed]]
On Behalf Of Devin Ganger
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2008 1:34 PM
To: Mike Moratz-Coppins; focus-ms (at) securityfocus (dot) com [email concealed]
Subject: RE: Compromised WinXP box prob
With all the problems you've described on this box, you're better off
nuking it and reinstalling from scratch. If you really want to play with
it and learn from it, take an image of the hard drive before you do so
(with, of course, the customer's consent). That way the customer gets
back up and running quickly and you can perform forensic analysis at
Be aware, though, with all of the access to the drive that you've
described, you're going to have a very tough time actually determining
exactly what happened. The fact that it is XP SP1 (not SP2) dramatically
increases the likelihood of malware's role in ruining this installation.
Devin L. Ganger, Exchange MVP Email: deving (at) 3sharp (dot) com [email concealed]
3Sharp Phone: 425.882.1032
14700 NE 95th Suite 210 Cell: 425.239.2575
Redmond, WA 98052 Fax: 425.558.5710
(e)Mail Insecurity: http://blogs.3sharp.com/blog/deving/
> -----Original Message-----
> From: listbounce (at) securityfocus (dot) com [email concealed]
> [mailto:listbounce (at) securityfocus (dot) com [email concealed]] On Behalf Of Mike Moratz-
> Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 8:11 AM
> To: focus-ms (at) securityfocus (dot) com [email concealed]
> Subject: Compromised WinXP box prob
> I am self-employed; fixing computers for customers for a living. I
> have a customer's machine at home at the moment because I am stumped
> by a problem on it.
> I'll describe the history (AFAIK) up to this point - the customer was
> running WinXP SP1 with Norton Antivirus. They noticed a problem where
> it looked like lots of e-mails were outgoing, Norton detected viruses
> but wasn't able to get rid of them. The customer rang Symantec
> support, who spent about an hour doing remote assistance on their
> machine, seemingly trying to delete the virus-infected files only to
> have them recreated on reboot. The Symantec guy gave up after a while
> and advised the customer that they should get hold of a WinXP CD (I'm
> not sure what their intention was at this point). When the customer
> managed to get hold of a WinXP CD, they rang Symantec back only to be
> told that they should get someone local to deal with the problem.
> Then the customer called me.
> When the computer boots, it seemingly does a normal Windows boot (the
> normal Windows XP progress bar (green as it is Home Edition and pre
> SP2), but then the next screen it shows is saying safe mode (no reboot
> in between). Standard welcome screen, but no accounts can log in
> ("your account cannot log in due to an account restriction" - perhaps
> not exactly word-for-word but the message looks like a genuine Windows
> message rather than something crafted by a third party). This goes
> for all accounts on the machine including administrator.
> I tried all safe modes and 'last known good' but same result. Next I
> tried the ntpasswd boot CD and reset all accounts' passwords, though
> none of them said locked out/disabled etc. Boot again, no difference.
> I booted off my WinXP CD into recovery console, and as the customer
> mentioned boot sector viruses, for the sake of being thorough I used
> FIXMBR and FIXBOOT to rewrite the boot sector and MBR. No difference
> to normal Windows boot. Again in recovery console, I checked for the
> file names that the customer said that Norton mentioned. Neither of
> them were familiar, but I think I found one of them and renamed it to
> stop it potentially executing on boot. No difference to bootup.
> I guessed that the 'account restriction' might be the 'log on locally'
> right but I haven't found a way of configuring this. I tried renaming
> logonui.exe to cmd.exe but that command prompt won't let me run any
> other executables (not enough quota message) such as ntrights.exe.
> possibility I can think of is to set up a LAN with DHCP, put my laptop
> on it and the machine in question and try to do ntrights over the
> network but I would have thought that the firewall on that machine
> would stop that attempt. Of course I could be barking up the wrong
> tree with this overall 'account restriction' theory. I also tried
> having REGEDIT.EXE run in the place of LOGONUI.EXE but it errors
> saying I didn't supply it with an argument. Eventually it gives up
> trying to run it and goes to the winlogon classic UI, which
> unsurprisingly gives me the same account restriction error.
> The other problem I have noticed is that I saw a few iffy-looking
> services in recovery console using LISTSVC but I can't configure the
> service startup type as the command complains that there isn't a
> CurrentControlSet key.
> That last problem makes me think that this and the 'account
> were inadvertently caused by Symantec support, perhaps one of their
> removal utilities (which I've noticed one or two on C drive) has done
> some damage. My only other theory is that some over-zealous malware
> writer has designed some sort of self-destruct system but I can think
> of more effective ways of achieving such an end and overall I think
> this theory is rather alarmist.
> I've mounted the disk on my machine and virus-scanned it. It has
> removed a few assorted virus-infected files and cleaned up a couple of
> others (such as lsass.exe - not misspelt), but the machine still
> doesn't start. I've backed up the customer's data and I have got the
> customer's consent to nuke the installation but I would prefer not to
> if it isn't necessary (and learn from this experience), though of
> course I don't want to spend a huge amount of hours on this problem
> only to fall back on the repair-reinstall/clean-install option.
> If anyone has any ideas I would much appreciate hearing them!
> Mike Moratz-Coppins
> mike (at) mikeymike.org (dot) uk [email concealed]
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