Threat Explorer

The Threat Explorer is a comprehensive resource consumers can turn to for daily, accurate, up-to-date information on the latest threats, risks and vulnerabilities.



October 04, 2019
October 08, 2019
Infection Length:
Systems Affected:
PHP.Comminer is a worm that spreads through network shares and removable drives. It also opens a backdoor on the compromised computer, steals information, and uses the compromised computer for cryptocurrency mining.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version October 04, 2019 revision 016
  • Latest Rapid Release version October 07, 2019 revision 020
  • Initial Daily Certified version November 04, 2019 revision 050
  • Latest Daily Certified version November 04, 2019 revision 050
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date October 09, 2019
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.
Once executed, the worm creates one of the following files:
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\winhost32.exe
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\lmhostsec2.exe
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\syscomnet.exe
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\microsoftexp.exe
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\netconfigegp.exe
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\porttcphost.exe
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\winlcep32.exe
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\tempwin.exe

It then creates the following files:
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\com.php
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\icon.vbs
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\run.vbs
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\php5ts.dll
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\reload_script.vbs
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\command002.php
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\command.dat
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\exec_aux.vbs
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\browser_comm_id.dat
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\ssleay32.dll
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\libeay32.dll
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\php_curl.dll
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\php.ini
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\exec_drivers.vbs
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\exec_on_install.vbs
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\\65sd456sa4d65sa4d56as.dat
  • %AppData%\Microsoft Windows Update Center x86\
  • %AppData%\Microsoft Windows Update Center x86\temp001.html
  • %AppData%\Microsoft Windows Update Center x86\Microsoft Software Location\Firefox\run_browser.vbs
  • %AppData%\Microsoft Windows Update Center x86\Microsoft Software Location\App\Chrome-bin\run_browser.vbs
  • %AppData%\Essentials Modules x86\run_startup.vbs
  • %AppData%\Essentials Modules x86\run_startup_lc_mac.vbs
  • [REMOVABLE DRIVE]\[MD5]\com.php
  • [REMOVABLE DRIVE]\[MD5]\icon.vbs
  • [REMOVABLE DRIVE]\[MD5]\run.vbs
  • [REMOVABLE DRIVE]\[MD5]\winhost32.exe
  • [REMOVABLE DRIVE]\[MD5]\php5ts.dll
  • [NETWORK SHARE]\[MD5]\com.php
  • [NETWORK SHARE]\[MD5]\icon.vbs
  • [NETWORK SHARE]\[MD5]\run.vbs
  • [NETWORK SHARE]\[MD5]\winhost32.exe
  • [NETWORK SHARE]\[MD5]\php5ts.dll

The worm creates the following registry entries so that it runs every time Windows starts:
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\"KeybordDriver x86" = "%AppData%\Essentials Modules x86\run_startup.vbs"
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\"KeybordDriver x86" = "%AppData%\Essentials Modules x86\run_startup_lc_mac.vbs"

The worm sends malware version information, Windows version information, host name, and some its configuration information to the following remote location:
  • http://wina[REMOVED]

The worm then saves received information to the following file:
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\command.dat

Next, the worm parses %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\command.dat and saves the additional PHP script to the following file:
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\command002.php

The worm drops and executes the following file to execute %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\command002.php:
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\exec_aux.vbs

The worm may download an archive from the following remote location and extract browser binaries from it:

The worm then downloads data from the following remote location:

The worm saves the downloaded data to the following file:
  • %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\\65sd456sa4d65sa4d56as.dat

The worm parses %AppData%\Windows Drivers Update\\65sd456sa4d65sa4d56as.dat and uses the information to create a miner HTML page and saves it as the following file:
  • %AppData%\Microsoft Windows Update Center x86\temp001.html

The worm drops and executes one of the following files to run %AppData%\Microsoft Windows Update Center x86\temp001.html for mining:
  • %AppData%\Microsoft Windows Update Center x86\Microsoft Software Location\Firefox\run_browser.vbs
  • %AppData%\Microsoft Windows Update Center x86\Microsoft Software Location\App\Chrome-bin\run_browser.vbs

The worm spreads by copying itself to network shares and removable drives.

The worm creates .lnk files to replace every folder, .txt file, and .bat file in removable media and network shares. The attributes of the original folders and files are set to "Hidden" to hide them from the user. At the same time, the worm creates a new folder at the same level of the parent folder of targeted folders or files, and the folder name is a random MD5 value. The worm copies itself and its components to that folder. The attributes of the newly created folders are set to "Hidden". The .lnk files are used to load the worm from newly created folders.


Symantec Security Response encourages all users and administrators to adhere to the following basic security "best practices":

  • Use a firewall to block all incoming connections from the Internet to services that should not be publicly available. By default, you should deny all incoming connections and only allow services you explicitly want to offer to the outside world.
  • Enforce a password policy. Complex passwords make it difficult to crack password files on compromised computers. This helps to prevent or limit damage when a computer is compromised.
  • Ensure that programs and users of the computer use the lowest level of privileges necessary to complete a task. When prompted for a root or UAC password, ensure that the program asking for administration-level access is a legitimate application.
  • Disable AutoPlay to prevent the automatic launching of executable files on network and removable drives, and disconnect the drives when not required. If write access is not required, enable read-only mode if the option is available.
  • Turn off file sharing if not needed. If file sharing is required, use ACLs and password protection to limit access. Disable anonymous access to shared folders. Grant access only to user accounts with strong passwords to folders that must be shared.
  • Turn off and remove unnecessary services. By default, many operating systems install auxiliary services that are not critical. These services are avenues of attack. If they are removed, threats have less avenues of attack.
  • If a threat exploits one or more network services, disable, or block access to, those services until a patch is applied.
  • Always keep your patch levels up-to-date, especially on computers that host public services and are accessible through the firewall, such as HTTP, FTP, mail, and DNS services.
  • Configure your email server to block or remove email that contains file attachments that are commonly used to spread threats, such as .vbs, .bat, .exe, .pif and .scr files.
  • Isolate compromised computers quickly to prevent threats from spreading further. Perform a forensic analysis and restore the computers using trusted media.
  • Train employees not to open attachments unless they are expecting them. Also, do not execute software that is downloaded from the Internet unless it has been scanned for viruses. Simply visiting a compromised Web site can cause infection if certain browser vulnerabilities are not patched.
  • If Bluetooth is not required for mobile devices, it should be turned off. If you require its use, ensure that the device's visibility is set to "Hidden" so that it cannot be scanned by other Bluetooth devices. If device pairing must be used, ensure that all devices are set to "Unauthorized", requiring authorization for each connection request. Do not accept applications that are unsigned or sent from unknown sources.
  • For further information on the terms used in this document, please refer to the Security Response glossary.
You may have arrived at this page either because you have been alerted by your Symantec product about this risk, or you are concerned that your computer has been affected by this risk.

Before proceeding further we recommend that you run a full system scan. If that does not resolve the problem you can try one of the options available below.

If you are a Norton product user, we recommend you try the following resources to remove this risk.

Removal Tool
Use our tools to remove aggressive risks from your computer.

Infected Windows system files may need to be repaired using the Windows installation CD .

How to reduce the risk of infection
Check out our extensive collections of helpful advice and tips on how to stay safe online .

If you are a Symantec business product user, we recommend you try the following resources to remove this risk.

Identifying and submitting suspect files
Submitting suspicious files to Symantec allows us to ensure that our protection capabilities keep up with the ever-changing threat landscape. Submitted files are analyzed by Symantec Security Response and, where necessary, updated definitions are immediately distributed through LiveUpdate™ to all Symantec end points. This ensures that other computers nearby are protected from attack. The following resources may help in identifying suspicious files for submission to Symantec.

Removal Tool

If you have an infected Windows system file, you may need to replace it using the Windows installation CD .

The following instructions pertain to all current Symantec antivirus products.

1. Performing a full system scan
For information on how to run a full system scan using your Symantec product, follow the guidance given in the product's Help section.

2. Restoring settings in the registry
Many risks make modifications to the registry, which could impact the functionality or performance of the compromised computer. While many of these modifications can be restored through various Windows components, it may be necessary to edit the registry. See in the Technical Details of this writeup for information about which registry keys were created or modified. Delete registry subkeys and entries created by the risk and return all modified registry entries to their previous values.
Writeup By: Liang Yuan