W32.Printlove

W32.Printlove Description

Printlove is a computer worm that is characterized by forcing the victim's printer to start printing out pages filled up with gibberish, eventually wasting paper, ink and even overheating and becoming useless. Printlove is actually active and attacks computers all around the world. The main symptom associated with Printlove is that the infected computer's printer starts printing out large quantities of symbols and numbers without the computer user's authorization. Printlove should be removed with a reliable anti-malware program and should not be allowed to stay on the infected computer. Since Printlove will usually be accompanied by other malware threats, simply disconnecting your printer is not adequate protection for your computer.

How Printlove Attacks a Computer

A Windows vulnerability patched in 2010 allows Printlove to gain access to the infected computer's print spooler. Because many computer users neglect to update their operating systems, especially when using copies of Windows from unauthorized sources, there are many computers all around the world that are still vulnerable to Printlove. ESG malware analysts advise applying all security updates for Windows – Printlove is not the only malware threat that uses this vulnerability to attack your computer. The Stuxnet worm also uses the Windows Print Spooler vulnerability (known as CVE-2010-2729) to attack your computer. Usually transmitted via external memory devices (such as USB drives), Printlove copies itself to the print spooler folder in order to infiltrate the infected computer's network. This mode of attack makes Printlove especially dangerous for corporations since Printlove can cause thousands of dollars in wasted paper and ink as well as spreading quickly throughout a corporate network.

The 'print bomb' attack is actually a characteristic of a failed attack by the Printlove worm. Printlove uses a print request as a way disseminate from one PC to another and, if the Windows vulnerability mentioned above is exploited successfully, a copy of Printlove is dropped and installed on the infected computer. However, when this vulnerability has already been patched, then Printlove is dropped on the printer spool file (SPL) which causes the infected computer to attempt to print Printlove's code, resulting in pages of gibberish.

Technical Information

Registry Details

W32.Printlove creates the following registry entry or registry entries:
RegistryKey
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Word\Security\"AccessVBOM" = "1"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Word\Security\"AccessVBOM" = "1"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Security\"AccessVBOM" = "1"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\"AccessVBOM" = "1"

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