Win32/Spyboter is a family of backdoor Trojans that targets certain versions of Microsoft Windows. The Trojan injects code into the explorer.exe process of a computer and allows attackers to control the computer through an IRC channel. 

Threat behavior

When Win32/Spyboter runs, it may take the following actions:
  • Copy itself to a new file in the system folder and run the file. 
  • Exit and delete the original Trojan file.
  • Add a value to the following registry keys:
    These changes cause the Trojan to run each time Windows starts. Some Win32/Spyboter variants create a Windows service to attain similar results.
  • Terminate security-related services and processes.
  • Inject code into the explorer.exe process space and run the code.
  • Connect to an IRC server and joins a specific channel to receive commands from attackers. These commands instruct the Trojan to perform operations such as the following:
    • Drop copies of itself to Windows startup folders.
    • Drop copies of itself to the share folder of a file-sharing application.
    • Gather system information such as CPU speed, memory usage, Windows operating system,  connection type, IP address, and Windows logon information.
    • Add, modify, or delete registry keys.
    • Send e-mail to other attackers.
    • Conduct denial of service (DoS) attacks.
    • Download and run files.
    • Create and delete network shares.
    • Redirect connections.
    • Enable DCOM protocol.
    • Scan for computers with weak administrator passwords.
    • Scan a range of IP addresses on certain open ports.
    • Set up an HTTP proxy.
    • Set up a TFTP server or an HTTPd server.
    • Download files using FTP or HTTP and run the files.
    • Log keystrokes.
    • Gather CD keys of various games.
    • Gather Windows product keys.
    • Gather e-mail addresses.
    • List or terminate certain processes and services.  
    • Remove the worm.


There are no readily apparent indications that your computer is infected by Win32/Spyboter


Take the following steps to help prevent infection on your system:
  • Enable a firewall on your computer.
  • Get the latest computer updates.
  • Use up-to-date antivirus software.

Enable a firewall on your computer

Use a third-party firewall product or turn on the Microsoft Windows XP Internet Connection Firewall.
To turn on the Internet Connection Firewall in Windows XP
  1. Click Start, and click Control Panel.
  2. Click Network and Internet Connections, and click Network Connections. If you do not see Network and Internet Connections, click Switch to Category View.
  3. Highlight a connection that you want to help protect, and click Change settings of this connection.
  4. Click Advanced, and select Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet.
  5. Click OK.

Get the latest computer updates

Updates help protect your computer from viruses, worms, and other threats as they are discovered. You can use the Automatic Updates feature in Microsoft Windows XP to automatically download future Microsoft security updates while your computer is on and connected to the Internet.
To turn on Automatic Updates in Windows XP
  1. Click Start, and click Control Panel
  2. Click Performance and Maintenance. If you do not see Performance and Maintenance, click Switch to Category View.
  3. Click System.
  4. Click Automatic Updates, and select Keep my computer up to date.
  5. Select a setting. Microsoft recommends selecting Automatically download the updates, and install them on the schedule that I specify and setting a regular update time.
  6. If you choose to have Automatic Updates notify you in step 5, you will see a notification balloon when new downloads are available to install. Click the notification balloon to review and install updates.

Use up-to-date antivirus software

Most antivirus software can detect and prevent infection by known malicious software. You should always run antivirus software on your computer that is updated with the latest signature files to automatically help protect you from infection. If you don't have antivirus software installed, you can get it from one of several companies. For more information, see

Alert level: Severe
This entry was first published on: Jul 26, 2005
This entry was updated on: Sep 19, 2006

This threat is also detected as:
  • W32/Spybot.worm.gen (McAfee)
  • W32.Spybot.Worm (Symantec)
  • Backdoor.Spyboter (Symantec)
  • WORM_SPYBOT.GEN (Trend Micro)