Gaobot.NXO is a worm that spreads by copying itself, without infecting other files.
It captures certain information entered or saved by the user, with the corresponding threat to privacy:
passwords saved by certain Windows services; keystrokes, in order to obtain information for accessing online banking services, passwords and other confidential information; screenshots of actions carried out.
It sends the gathered information to a remote user by any available means: email, FTP, etc.
It affects productivity, preventing tasks from being carried out:
- In the affected computer:
it converts the computer into a platform for taking malicious action surreptitiously: spam sending, launch of Denial of Service attacks, malware distribution, etc.
- In the local network:
it generates a large amount of network activity and consumes bandwidth.
It reduces the security level of the computer:
it terminates processes belonging to security tools, such as antivirus programs and firewalls, leaving the computer defenseless against attacks from other malware; it changes the security settings of Internet Explorer, decreasing its security level; it notifies the attacker that the computer has been compromised and is ready to be used maliciously; it awaits remote-control orders received through
IRC or FTP; it changes system permissions, decreasing the security level.
It uses stealth techniques to avoid being detected by the user:
- It uses techniques included in its code to hide itself while it is active.
- It terminates processes corresponding to several security tools, such as antivirus programs and firewalls, to prevent detection.
- It deletes the original file from which it was run once it is installed on the computer.
- It modifies system permissions in order to hide itself.
It uses several methods in order to avoid detection by antivirus companies:
- It terminates its own execution if it detects that a memory dump program is running, such as Procdump.
- Its code is encrypted and it is only decrypted when it is going to run. Because of this, its code is not legible through a memory dump.
Gaobot.NXO does not spread automatically using its own means. It needs an attacking user's intervention in order to reach the affected computer. The means of transmission used include, among others, floppy disks, CD-ROMs, email messages with attached files, Internet downloads, FTP, IRC channels, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks, etc.