Win32/Wootbot is a family of network worms that targets certain versions of Microsoft Windows. The worm spreads to writeable network shares as well as MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server application servers. It also spreads by exploiting various Windows vulnerabilities. The worm has a backdoor component that connects to an IRC server and joins a specific channel to receive commands from attackers.

Threat behavior

When Win32/Wootbot runs, it creates a copy of itself in %windir% or the system folder. The worm may set the file attributes of the copied file to hidden and system
The worm may add a value to one or more registry keys, which causes the worm to run each time Windows starts. Some variants create a Windows system service for this purpose.
Win32/Wootbot can connect to an internet relay chat (IRC) server and join a specific IRC channel to receive commands that can include:
  • Downloading and running executable files using FTP or HTTP.
  • Setting up an HTTP proxy on the computer.
  • Adding or deleting services and registry keys on the computer.
  • Retrieving information from the computer; for example, system information, CD keys of games, e-mail addresses, and Windows product keys.
  • Creating or deleting network shares.
  • Scanning for unpatched computers on the network.
Several Windows vulnerabilities allow the worm to spread to other computers. For example, the worm can exploit the Windows Local Security Authentication Server (LSASS) service process vulnerability to create a command shell on a remote computer. The worm then uses the command shell to copy itself to that computer. This vulnerability is fixed in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS04-011.
Win32/Wootbot can also spread to writeable network shares and to MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server application servers by trying weak administrator passwords. After it gains access, the worm copies itself to the remote computer and runs the copy.
Some variants of Win32/Wootbot attempt to spread through a backdoor that is opened by a variant of the Optix family of backdoor Trojans. Some Win32/Wootbot variants terminate services and processes related to computer security.


Your computer may be infected with a variant of Win32/Wootbot if any of the following symptoms appear:
  • An LSA Shell error report dialog box like the following is displayed:
  • A system shutdown dialog box is displayed before your computer reboots unexpectedly. The following examples indicate computer shutdown due to unexpected termination of the system process lsass.exe or the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service.



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
  • Use strong passwords

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
  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.

Use strong passwords

A strong password is one that is at least eight characters, includes a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols and is easy for you to remember, but difficult for others to guess. Weak passwords include any words in the dictionary, names, dates, consecutive letters or numbers, common words with symbol substitutions (for example, p@ssw0rd), and so on. 

Alert level: High
This entry was first published on: Jun 21, 2005
This entry was updated on: Sep 19, 2006

This threat is also detected as:
  • W32.Spybot.Worm (Symantec)
  • WORM_FORBOT (Trend Micro)
  • WORM_WOOTBOT (Trend Micro)
  • W32/Sdbot.worm (McAfee)
  • Win32.Forbot (CA)