The Sasser worm has infected millions of computers world wide and may still be rising sharply. Reports were spread yesterday that high profile Sasser infections have included the UK Maritime and CoastGuard, the Westpac Bank in Australia, and the French Stock Exchange and the France Presse news agency.
The Sasser worm targets a security hole in Microsoft Windows and spreads by scanning for random IP addresses and exploiting a buffer overrun vulnerability recently reported by Microsoft for the Windows operating system. Anyone connected to the Internet, including corporate networks and broadband subscribers, may be at risk from this family of worms. While Sasser is not the first worm to take advantage of the Microsoft vulnerability, it uses a method of propagation to spread broadly and at an exponential rate.
If your computer has been infected with Sasser, here are some simple instructions for removing the Internet virus.
Step 1) Disconnect your computer from the Internet.
Step 2) Locate and stop the worm’s actions: Press the keys “Ctrl” “Alt” and “Del” at the same time. That should launch Windows Task Manager. Click on the “Processes” tab. Look for a file called “aserve.exe” or “*_up.exe”. If one of these files appears, highlight it and click on the “End Process” button. Click “yes” when it asks for confirmation.
Step 3) Find and delete the worm: Click on the “Start” button in the bottom left corner of your screen, then choose “Search.” Search your entire computer (in the field next to the “all files and folders” option) for the following files: “avserve.exe” and “*_up.exe.” Delete any matching files.
Step 4) Enable a firewall: Right-click on the Internet connection icon in the bottom-right corner of your screen (or wherever the task bar is located). Click on “open network connections.” When a box pops up, right-click on the connection you use to get online, and select “properties.” Then, on the “Advanced” tab you should see a box underneath the words “Internet connection firewall.” If that box is not checked, check it.
Step 5) Reconnect your computer to the Internet.
Step 6) Go to Microsoft’s Windows Update (windowsupdate.microsoft.com). Let the site scan your computer and apply any “critical” updates.
Step 7) Check to make sure your computer is disinfected: Visit Microsoft’s Sasser page on its Web site and click on the button that reads “Check My PC for Infection.” Follow the instructions provided.
If your computer continues to try to restart:
Click on the “Start” button at the bottom-left corner of your screen, then choose “Run” from the list of options. Type “cmd.exe” (without the quotation marks). When a command prompt pops up, type in “shutdown -a” (again, without the quotation marks). That should stop the reboot process and give you enough time to carry out steps 2 through 4.