Over a year has passed since the NSIS Media menace. Mostly good things have happened since. I figured this could be a good time to recap and summarize.

  • no longer contains NSIS Media infected downloads. I’ve received no response for my queries, so I assume I had nothing to do with it.
  • NSIS Media malware update servers are no longer operational.
  • I have received only one e-mail complaining about NSIS Media over the last year, compared to the dozens before I’ve released the remover.
  • My remover was downloaded approximately 10,000 times from my website and probably a bit more from other websites as well.
  • My lawsuit has failed miserably. I was trying to get back at Opensoft/Openwares and all of their Vanuatu-based friends with the help of the Software Freedom Law Foundation. We tried to track down someone we could sue, but failed. After a few unanswered queries and answers pointing at multiple directions from various related companies, the search was sadly brought to a halt.
  • I was contacted by F-Secure for details of NSIS Media. I seem to recall there were more companies that asked for my help, but I can’t find the e-mails proving it.
  • Most anti-virus or malware removal applications I’ve tested find only the most common infections of NSIS Media and skip the rarer DLL files.
  • Opensoft is still up to no good.
  • Openwares is still alive and kicking, spreading malware and using NSIS but no sane user will surf to that website.
  • I have received no donations for my research or for creating the remover.
  • I still don’t make 1000$ a day 😦

So there you have it — the story of a deceased malware. I’d like to think I took at least a small part of its demise.

Atomic codes

I had some fun today trying to figure out why Banner likes to hang around with .NET so much so it wouldn’t even leave. I found out that while being destroyed, something tries to send messages to the main dialog. But the main dialog is busy with destroying the banner. I added exactly two iterations of the famous win32 message loop and everything started working. I still don’t know why those messages are sent or why it’s so important they’ll be answered before the banner is destroyed or even why it happens just with the .NET installer. And don’t even ask about different synchronization methods that make it tick. So far, I’ve found only smoke signals and the fire extinguisher won’t last much longer.

Of all the signals, I liked the message loop the most. It actually points to something I’ve done wrong. I’ve starved the main dialog’s thread while creating a modeless dialog as its child. That’s why I dug in further into those two iterations of the loop and those two messages that it processes. It turns out both of them had the same identifier – 0xc0c3. Now that’s no regular WM_ message… That’s a message registered with RegisterWindowMessage. But which message is it? That’s where the fun starts. There’s no GetRegisteredWindowMessage API available and nothing on the topic comes out on Google.

So with no leads to follow I started digging. Normally, to give a certain string a specific value in Windows, an atom is created. And indeed, 0xc0c3 is in the range of named atoms. To make things even simpler, in WINE, RegisterWindowMessage simply calls GlobalAddAtom, casts ATOM to UINT and returns. Great, then GetAtomName or GlobalGetAtomName should do the trick. Only reality isn’t as bright as WINE would like us to think. It turns out RegisterWindowMessage uses a different atom table for its messages. But which atom table and how can you even specify a table with GetAtomName?

To specify a table, a low-level access to RtlLookupAtomInAtomTable is required. But that function is deep inside ntoskrnl.exe. So, up one level and you get NtUserGetAtomName which uses the same atom table as NtUserAddAtom which is the function RegisterWindowMessage calls. But that’s inside win32k.sys… Luckily, user32.dll already handles that. It has a stub that calls NtUserGetAtomName at 0x7E41FA8E. Some playing around with the second parameter which turns out to be UNICODE_STRING and the atomic table is in hands’ reach.

Engines off, coding fingers down, digging complete and the message name is MSUIM.Msg.Private. That too gets little to none results on Google, but who cares… Debugging is fun 🙂

For any of you who’d ever want to convert a registered message into a readable name, here’s the NSIS code. Replace 0xc0c3 with the message identifier and 0x7E41FA8E with user32!NtUserGetAtomName and you’re good to go.

# the atom
StrCpy $2 0xc0c3
;System::Call user32::RegisterWindowMessage(t'test_message')i.r2
System::Alloc 1008
Pop $R0
StrCpy $R1 0
StrCpy $R2 1000
IntOp $R3 $R0 + 8
System::Call *$R0(&i2R1,&i2R2,iR3)
# call NtUserGetAtomName
System::Call ::0x7E41FA8E(ir2,iR0)i.r1?e
System::Call *$R0(&i2.r4,&i2.r3,w.r0)
# print details
DetailPrint "user atom's name is $0"
DetailPrint "length is $4 (???)"
DetailPrint "NtUserGetAtomName returned $1"
Pop $1
DetailPrint "GetLastError() = $1"
# done
System::Free $R0

Knowing you’re bored #157

The other day, I found myself holding the N key in guidgen, trying to exhaust all 340282366920938463463374607431768211456 GUIDs. I didn’t count, but I think I got to around a 1000 GUIDs so far… I was just that bored. I guess I was hoping for a cool “OUT OF GUIDS” BSOD or something.

Press the N key

Missed evil files

I tried looking for a newer version of NSIS Media by visiting their latest update server. I came out empty handed, which was bad news for my research but great news for the rest of the world. Just to make sure I got it right, I visited the old update server once again. I was in for a surprise when it served me b10.bin for downloading. As you may recall from one of the earlier posts, I originally downloaded only [ab][1-9]. Seeing as it suddenly served b10.bin, I upgraded my download script and found some more evil files.


I’ve updated my NSIS Media Remover to detect and remove those as well. I’ve also updated the samples archive, though it still doesn’t contain any of the old version DLL files.

NSIS Media Remover

I’ve assembled everything I’ve learned the past few weeks about NSIS Media into one simple and effortless application that should completely remove it. NSIS Media Remover removes installed files and registry keys.

  • 93 101 known DLL files installed into the system folder
  • C:Program FilesCommon FilesNSIS folder
  • Firefox nsis.jar extension
  • Many registry keys
    • CLSIDs
    • Shell extensions
    • txtfile context menu handler
    • Overlay icon handlers
    • SoftwareNSISMedia
    • SoftwareIAN
    • Add/Remove entry

NSIS Media Remover is provided without any warranty. Its source code is available in the tool itself. Hit the View Source Code button to get it.

Download NSIS Media Remover

md5:  7778c19e9df725d20a30fe42f425589d
sha1: 9eb42afbf75fd97555cc5260b3d24f33a6dec622

While creating this tool, I’ve found more exciting new facts about this pest. One of which is that apparently, CNET were fooled into serving the downloads on The installers check to see if the computer belongs to download sites, anti-virus companies and even Cydoor prior to installing the pest.

Update: version 1.1 was released on January 13th, 2007 with 8 more files missed in the original research.

Even more evil files

While searching for the complete list of registry keys used by NSIS Media, I found yet another update server for an even older version. Only this server seems a bit different, it’s for removal of NSIS Media. Its output contains a URL for an installer that removes a lot of files and registry keys I haven’t ever seen.


Expect a complete NSIS Media remover very soon…

More evil files

I just found another list of DLL files used by NSIS Media. The script used in their updated installers first removes the old DLL files. It renames them to temporary names and deletes all of their registry keys. Along with the previous list, I believe this makes a complete list of all DLL files used by NSIS Media.



Mr. Angry Pants

Our good old friend, NSIS Media, comes back for a second ride. As you know, the first ride is always free. It’s good for business. Nothing like a good promotion to draw new customers. But when you come over for a second ride, it won’t be cheap.

Right after I finished writing the last post, I was greeted with a nice pop-up suggesting I should get a green card. I was quite surprised I was infected with NSIS Media, because I only opened the installers on a Virtual PC. After a little meditation, mainly to cool myself, but also to dig in my memories, I recalled I opened one of the installers to take a screenshot. Foolishly, I assumed it’d only install this malware along with the program itself. How deep was my mistake to think they’d actually be that nice. The malware installed itself even before the first wizard page showed up. All doubt was removed. This software is pure evil.

I’ve taken several routes to bring this internet atrocity to an end. So far, the most fruitful route was based on a friend’s advice. I contacted Software Freedom Law Center to get their help sending a cease and desist letter to NSIS Media. In the process, I found out a lot interesting facts about NSIS Media. Like Openwares, they are located in Vanuatu, a Melanesian island which is, of course, outside of the USA. This means a cease and desist won’t affect them and so further research is required. This also raises the intresting question of NSIS Media’s owner. Both companies are based in Vanuatu and are hosted with As clearly stated in Openwares’ RSS and many other places, Openwares is owned by Opensoft Corporation which is making the web more interesting since 2001. It won’t be too far fetched to assume NSIS Media is also a part of this corporation, if not at least its best partner.

This corporate deserves a lot of credit. It has ripped off many open source programs and has plauged the web with Cydoor and NSIS Media malwares. A very paritial list follows.

  • Openwares – distributing malware infected packages on
  • Turbo TorrentG3 Torrent rip off containing NSIS Media, but claiming to be adware free.
  • FoxieCCleaner rip off, Firefox look alike designed to fool people into thinking it’s the new Firefox everyone is talking about. There have also been reports of it packing NSIS Media, but I cannot confirm that. They claim to be based in Israel, however they are hosted on, are linked from every Opensoft website and have Opensoft listed in their license as a contractor.

    U.S. Government Information Use, duplication, or disclosure by the U.S. Government of the computer and software documentation in this package shall be subject to restrictions as set forth in subparagraph (c)(1)(ii) of the Rights in Technical Data and Computer Software clause at DFARS 252.277-7013 (Oct 1988) and FAR 52.227-19 (Jun 1987). The Contractor is Opensoft Corporation, Vanuatu.

  • MP3 Shield – another Opensoft venture which is currently offline. Probably packed with NSIS Media as well and most probably a rip off.
  • Startup Mechanic – calims to protect your PC but installs NSIS Media.

Now that we’ve gotten to know them, lets dig in and see how NSIS Media works. As I’ve previously said, NSIS Media “enhanced” installations include two DLL files installed into the system folder. The names vary, but the goal is always the same. The first, written using MSVC, leeches on just about every process in the system and loads the second. It is also responsible of installation and removal, according to strings that show up in it. The weird thing about this file is its PDB path which is always under c:Cydoor_shell_project. Cydoor are reportedly out of this evil business, so I don’t quite know what to make of this. All DLL files have timestamps dating back to 2001, so it might be an old Cydoor DLL used to wrap NSIS Media. On the other hand, Opensoft claims to have established on 2001, but I doubt they still use the same DLL files.

The second DLL is far more interesting. It’s built using VB6 and contains an HTML page with the title Advertisment (typo in source) as resource. But there are no references to the C:Program FilesCommon FilesNSIS directory, nsis.jar, HKLMSoftwareNSISMedia or NSIS Media at all. The third DLL, miraculously installed into Common FilesNSIS along with an uninstaller contains no code. It only contains a resource named IID_NSIS which holds an unknown GUID. The uninstaller, as you might have guessed, doesn’t do much. It creates a new value called OptOut in HKLMSoftwareNSISMedia, unregisters the third DLL and finally deletes it along with the uninstaller. It also deletes a shell hook, according to the GUID found in the clsid value under its registry key.

So where does all the evil come from? I started digging in the second DLL, the VB6 DLL, looking for a URL. I found one string that raised my suspicion – @CDOQSAO:=ARB:ACPF:FQE@:QCE@=DSCBFR@. It was stored in Unicode and used in what seemed to be a key function in the code. However, it was not a URL. Notice how the colors repeat themselves and how many characters are in each block they separate. It’s a GUID. The distance between a colon and a hyphen is 13. Subtract 13 from each character and you get 367BDF4B-04E5-46C9-9D83-D68307F659E3. One Google search later and you see you’ve hit the jackpot. That GUID belongs to NSIS Media.

So I have a GUID, but what’s that good for? Lets try decoding the entire file and see if more shows up. That struck oil. In the decoded files, I found URLs, advertisement categories, registry paths, file paths, HTML and even JavaScript. There was also a list what seems to be potential hostile programs including Ewido, Grisoft, NOD32, Norman, Symantec, Panda and even Cydoor. Another list contained wildcards matching common advertisement servers like DoubleClick, probably so their ads can be replaced with NSIS Media ads.

But the most interesting list was the URL list. One URL in particular had most to tell. Its response contained my country code and another URL for a file located on, another one of Opensoft’s websites. The name of the website and the content it tries to serve suggests it tries to make users believe it’s non other than Windows Update. Windows Update’s URL, by the way, is also listed in the second DLL. But it’s the file that’s hosted on that I enjoyed the most. is an installer, better described as an updater, containing two new NSIS Media DLL files. The two DLL files seem to share the same common pattern of the regular NSIS Media DLL files, but appear to be of a newer version, at least by examining the file sizes. Going to the original URL again, you get another installer name. I quickly saw the pattern is [ab][1-9].bin and downloaded them all.

Following is the complete list of NSIS Media’s new version DLL files along with their MD5 sum, for your malware removal needs. They are also available for download, but be careful with those.

04022272675cc56f1e68faa3fa2558b8 avtmskii.dll
0ff0930bb2ff743b212210471c725bc8 odbvgie.dll
15e63b822a0efede397ba9e7c8dbd02f usrwsh.dll
179164804cee71d62cd0f60d8f31735b kbdtdu2.dll
21e5ab0214714983584031e78c763aae wkcajax.dll
2c7b28b24cf717d8204b89a51a43c52d ftsash.dll
2dd9d642eb71eb541f51950c6ae0e5f5 nvritf.dll
2de5a9a086d0878abbd5259fe4f31787 rsvuaac.dll
2e3a6d1f71317faa094f2e7b427bb202 coltea.dll
2e7024c9f3dc91862e1b719d74e9f78f wshpwd32.dll
362b234f82ab4847ea14fcfe0bc07b33 nmmvti.dll
4322dbd9a120b0b6531a6d2c25bcbed3 mtxme2k.dll
5007f06b93defe72ff41c035cbaadc4a kbdrpo.dll
523a7424f94db5be34b33aecd2db32c5 nvredd.dll
59ecae29bdcccae85e8aff5718e55f2f dmubsi.dll
5aa56093a1e568c11a38264be0f4db7a wmiv3p.dll
5b850d909455d3062422f199c44445f2 mspksp2.dll
5fcbef5a137ee8ce3f5f615cb2e2d743 msjmme.dll
661f98df2ed0d7ba9997322248f01f46 ir4axb.dll
854b515f539f125fe4c9f4cdb01277f0 usrflx32.dll
8b4169f654be67be6f874a721c3919da avwmdm.dll
a27e788246ebb3fb59173594d314fd33 dsaoms.dll
a59bc64fb9f97934d20bccdbf346bce4 mswbst.dll
a8a1bb4bf6a67df2a2a24791b0605703 dspvfx.dll
a94db9a1ed0cfe9d807bec7407bef85a cfgsle.dll
aecc2a0fc2e9efa22f979f93ad3b5820 ieaean.dll
b1bbd68d3472ae8bb242f7fa6de00f76 ncxpri.dll
bd9cd45321c46cb7565553a1869ba19a wpdccmo.dll
c2e811707d1898d00a897802bea144ee atmkmsa.dll
c57b55771515280a8e93fabfea00928d adsusv32.dll
cac34a21c3957f118cff2fc4f43b555d lochsh32.dll
da4987053dc52f7ee9b1e70c62f7daa0 actsdr.dll
db69afb5e34af7aba15c2984bd582a31 mfctsa.dll
dd6ec5013c437ac0e86d17ab66e37854 audes2e.dll
e4b4747e461d39695722d07154dbdbb2 swpxa52u.dll
f3ee10c331a81188385e47e851ae3079 minsv32.dll

So what have we learned today?

  1. NSIS Media and Opensoft are pure evil.
  2. Cydoor might still be up to no good.
  3. kichik still doesn’t make 1000$ a day 😦

Mr. Smarty Pants

PestImagine you had an application that gets over 1,000 downloads a day. Imagine that this application’s soul purpose is to create other applications. Imagine those applications are distributed by you users, some bigger some smaller. Imagine those derived applications get downloaded over 1,000,000 times a day. Feeling good yet?

Now imagine someone would offer you 0.001$ for each user that opens one of those derived applications. That’s over 1,000$ a day. 30,000$ a month. 360,000$ a year. Perfect, ain’t that right? You’re sitting on your porch, a beer in your hand, music in the background and the skies are raining green bills. Does it get any better?

Sounds too good to be true? How about we dig in a little? Say, mister money pants… What exactly do I have to do for this money? “Nothing really”, he responds. “All you have to do is include our little library in every derived application your application creates”, he adds. Move a little uncomfortably in your chair and he’ll satisfy you, “it just gives the user nice and unobtrusive advertisements specifically targeted at him”. Sold yet? I sure am!

So you decide to wrap it up. But you still feel a little bit uncomfortable with it. Maybe because you don’t want people to know you’re making money of your free software, or maybe because you still don’t trust this guy too much. What do you do? You move his library a bit further. Assuming your application is called XYZ, you pack money pants’ library into XYZ Media which will be silently installed by your application’s derived applications. No one will know it’s you now. It’s ingenious!

Best deal ever? Right? You dig? Well? No? Why? Come on… You with me or what? Of course not. Why would I ever want to do something like that?

  1. My software is not only free, it’s open-source and is freely hosted on SourceForge. It costs me nothing but time. I’ve got no bills to cover.
  2. I’ve got a job, I don’t need an additional income. I’ve also had my share of incomes from the free software, without the need for deals like that.
  3. It’s completely evil. Besides forfeiting my ever-elusive seat in heaven, it’d also send my software right down the drain. Even if I remove XYZ Media later, no one will ever want to use it again. 1,000 downloads a day? Try one closed project.

As you’ve probably already guessed, I’m talking about NSIS and NSIS Media. NSIS Media is an extremely annoying adware package, or so reports say. It installs itself on both Internet Explorer and Firefox. On Firefox, it installs an extension with a file named NSIS.jar. These browser extensions pop-up advertisements titled “NSIS Media Advertisement” for the user at what appears to be random times. It shows an uninstaller in the Add/Remove control panel, but as long as the carrier program is installed, it’ll just come back.

According to reports online, it comes with eMule++ and every download from Openwares. The eMule++ installer and each installer I have downloaded from Openwares install two DLLs to the Windows directory. DLL names include wmidext.dll winsdrv.dll, msxmlu.dll and even nvrssid.dll pretending to be shell extension of nVidia. As you can see, it doesn’t really smell too good. But as can be seen in the picture below, it does ask the user for permission, at least with the original eMule++ installer.
eMule++ NSIS Media page
In Openwares installers, on the other hand, there is no such page. So what is this Openwares? It’s a company that would, at least according to their front page, freely repackage your installer with NSIS, publish it on their website and on CNet’s The latter seems to be most fertile ground for their deployment.

So is it evil or not? The eMule++ installer page might suggest it’s not. So does NSIS Media’s website, especially the uninstall page. But do they enforce this installer page on all of their partners? It doesn’t seem like they care too much for Openwares’ installers which seem to be pretty wide spread. Add the weird DLL naming and the very peculiar company name choice; and one thing you won’t get is positive credit. More specimens, outside of Openwares, or a direct contact at NSIS Media are required to determine the true nature of the beast.

But we’re not here to discuss the business affairs of this advertisement company. We have gathered here today to discuss my righteousness. Some people actually think I’m responsible for this mess. Probably some just Google up “NSIS” and find my e-mail address as the first result. But some people actually believe I’m behind this abomination. I got everything from polite requests for removal instructions to death threats. My favorites follow.

“As you can see, I am an IBM employee. Somehow the NSIS Media Trojan Horse has invaded my system. Please promptly send me instructions on how to remove it so that I don’t have to report this issue to IBM Legal.”

“CUT THE CRAP (read: spy-ware) !!!” (this one is actually longer, I trimmed it a bit…)

Some even plot a NSIS-Firefox grand conspiracy in their heads.

“Why there is no info on the Firefox / NSIS spyware scandal? Some malicious code installs into Firefox browsers and Thunderbird mail clients via JAR files by abusing a yet unpatched NSIS security hole and the bombards the user with many pop-up windows and downloads further spyware. The Net is up in arms about it, especially in Europe, where Firefox has 20% share in browsing. Firefox developers accuse NSIS developers of indifference and lazyness in fixing.”

All of the above and many more like those, got the appropriate response in the lines of “NSIS is not NSIS Media, go away”. Poor saps, fooled three times in a row. The first time, they’ve downloaded their application of choice from a bad source. Next, they miss the warning signs in the installer or all of those privacy statements. And finally, when reality pops-up in their faces, they miss the word “media” and blame yours truly.

So what have we learned today?

  1. NSIS Media is in no way related to NSIS.
  2. Download only from trusted sources and read carefully what the installer tells you.
  3. kichik doesn’t make 1000$ a day 😦