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TUCoPS :: Hacking Techniques :: ciach047.txt

AOL4FREE COM Trojan Horse Program


                       The U.S. Department of Energy
                    Computer Incident Advisory Capability
                           ___  __ __    _     ___
                          /       |     /_\   /
                          \___  __|__  /   \  \___

                             INFORMATION BULLETIN

               AOL4FREE.COM Trojan Horse Program Destroys Hard Drives

April 17, 1997 23:00 GMT                                           Number H-47a
PROBLEM:       A Trojan Horse program called AOL4FREE.COM that deletes all 
               files on a hard drive is circulating the Internet. 
PLATFORM:      DOS/Windows-based PCs
DAMAGE:        When the AOL4FREE.COM program is executed, all files and
               directories on the users C: drive are deleted.
SOLUTION:      DO NOT execute this program. If the program starts executing,
               quickly pressing Ctrl-C will save some of your files.
VULNERABILITY  Users who download the trojaned AOL4FREE.COM program and
ASSESSMENT:    executes it will destroy all the files and directories on their
               DOS C: drive.

CIAC has obtained a Trojaned copy of AOL4FREE.COM that destroys hard drives.


CIAC has obtained a Trojaned copy of the AOL4FREE.COM program that, if run, 
deletes all the files on a user's hard drive. If you are e-mailed this file, 
or if you have downloaded it from an online service, do not attempt to run it. 
If the program was received as an attachment to an e-mail message, do not 
double click (open) it. Opening an attached program runs that program, which 
in this case deletes all the files on your hard drive. The original 
AOL4FREE was a Macintosh program for fraudulently creating free AOL (America Online) 
accounts. Note that any attempt to use the original AOL4FREE program may 
subject you to prosecution.

NOTE: Most antivirus programs will not detect this or other Trojan Horse 


AOL4FREE.COM is a Trojan horse program that is 993 bytes (2 sectors) long. 
The following text is readable in the AOL4FREE.COM file 
if you display it with the DOS TYPE command or the DOS EDIT program.

Compiled by BAT2EXEC 1.5
PC Magazine . Douglas Boling

Note that this text may appear in any program compiled with the BAT2EXEC 
program and has nothing to do with the Trojan Horse.

If you open the AOL4FREE.COM file with a disk editor or with the Windows 
Notepad program, the following text is found at the end of the second sector 
of the file.

/C C:
/C CD\
DELTREE   /y *.*

Where F*** is a common vulgar explicative.


Pressing Ctrl-C before the Trojan Horse finishes deleting all your files will 
save some of them. If the program runs to completion, all the files on 
your root drive will have been deleted. The files are deleted with the 
DOS DELTREE command, so the contents of the files are still on your hard 
disk, only the directory entries have been deleted. Any program that can 
recover deleted files will allow you to recover some or all of the files 
on your hard disk. 

While attempting to recover files, be sure to not write any new files onto 
the hard disk as the new files may overwrite the contents of a deleted file, 
making it impossible to recover. You will probably have to boot your system 
with a floppy and run any recovery programs from there. 

If you happen to have one of the delete tracking programs installed on your 
system (a program that keeps track of deleted files in case you want them 
back) the recovery operation will be relatively simple. Follow the directions
in your delete tracking program to recover your files. If not, you will 
probably have to recover each file individually, supplying the first character 
of the file name, which is overwritten in the directory when the file is 
deleted. Most DOS/Windows disk tools programs also have the capability for 
recovering deleted files so follow the directions included with those programs 
to do so.


The original AOL4FREE Macintosh program was developed to fraudulently create free 
AOL accounts. The creator of that program has pleaded guilty to defrauding 
America Online for distributing that program. Anyone else attempting to use 
that program to defraud AOL could also be prosecuted.

The AOL4FREE Virus Warning message has been circulating about the Internet 
and warns of an AOL4FREE virus infected e-mail message that infects and 
destroys a system when the message is read, but that warning is a hoax 
and not about this Trojan horse.

1.  The AOL4FREE.COM program is a Trojan Horse, not a virus. It does not 
    spread on its own.
2.  A Trojan Horse must be run to do any damage. 
3.  Reading an e-mail message with the Trojan Horse program as an attachment
    will not run the Trojan Horse and will not do any damage. Note that 
    opening an attached program from within an e-mail reader runs that 
    attached program, which may make it appear that reading the attachment 
    caused the damage. Users should keep in mind that any file with a .COM or 
    .EXE extension is a program, not a document and that double clicking or 
    opening that program will run it. Macintosh users have the additional
    problem that Macintosh programs do not have readable extensions, and so
    are more difficult to detect. Extra care should be taken to insure
    that you do not unintentionally execute an attached program.

CIAC still affirms that reading an e-mail message, even one with an attached 
program, can not do damage to a system. The attachment must be both downloaded
onto the system and run to do any damage.

CIAC, the Computer Incident Advisory Capability, is the computer
security incident response team for the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) and the emergency backup response team for the National
Institutes of Health (NIH). CIAC is located at the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory in Livermore, California. CIAC is also a founding
member of FIRST, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, a
global organization established to foster cooperation and coordination
among computer security teams worldwide.

CIAC services are available to DOE, DOE contractors, and the NIH. CIAC
can be contacted at:
    Voice:    +1 510-422-8193
    FAX:      +1 510-423-8002
    STU-III:  +1 510-423-2604

For emergencies and off-hour assistance, DOE, DOE contractor sites,
and the NIH may contact CIAC 24-hours a day. During off hours (5PM -
8AM PST), call the CIAC voice number 510-422-8193 and leave a message,
or call 800-759-7243 (800-SKY-PAGE) to send a Sky Page. CIAC has two
Sky Page PIN numbers, the primary PIN number, 8550070, is for the CIAC
duty person, and the secondary PIN number, 8550074 is for the CIAC
Project Leader.

Previous CIAC notices, anti-virus software, and other information are
available from the CIAC Computer Security Archive.

   World Wide Web:
   Anonymous FTP: (
   Modem access:        +1 (510) 423-4753 (28.8K baud)
                        +1 (510) 423-3331 (28.8K baud)

CIAC has several self-subscribing mailing lists for electronic
1. CIAC-BULLETIN for Advisories, highest priority - time critical
   information and Bulletins, important computer security information;
2. CIAC-NOTES for Notes, a collection of computer security articles;
3. SPI-ANNOUNCE for official news about Security Profile Inspector
   (SPI) software updates, new features, distribution and
4. SPI-NOTES, for discussion of problems and solutions regarding the
   use of SPI products.

Our mailing lists are managed by a public domain software package
called Majordomo, which ignores E-mail header subject lines. To
subscribe (add yourself) to one of our mailing lists, send the
following request as the E-mail message body, substituting
ciac-bulletin, ciac-notes, spi-announce OR spi-notes for list-name:

E-mail to or
        subscribe list-name
  e.g., subscribe ciac-notes

You will receive an acknowledgment email immediately with a confirmation
that you will need to mail back to the addresses above, as per the
instructions in the email.  This is a partial protection to make sure
you are really the one who asked to be signed up for the list in question.

If you include the word 'help' in the body of an email to the above address,
it will also send back an information file on how to subscribe/unsubscribe,
get past issues of CIAC bulletins via email, etc.

PLEASE NOTE: Many users outside of the DOE, ESnet, and NIH computing
communities receive CIAC bulletins.  If you are not part of these
communities, please contact your agency's response team to report
incidents. Your agency's team will coordinate with CIAC. The Forum of
Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) is a world-wide
organization. A list of FIRST member organizations and their
constituencies can be obtained via WWW at

This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an
agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States
Government nor the University of California nor any of their
employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any
legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or
usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process
disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately
owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial products,
process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or
otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement,
recommendation or favoring by the United States Government or the
University of California. The views and opinions of authors expressed
herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States
Government or the University of California, and shall not be used for
advertising or product endorsement purposes.

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