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Aliases: W32/Pioneer-A (Sophos), Virus.Win32.Pioneer.dd (Kaspersky)
Malware type: File infector
Destructive: No
Platform: Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Vista (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit)
Encrypted: Yes
In the wild: Yes


Infection Channel: Infects files

This malware was discovered on January 2014 as a file infector that not only infects all executable files on an affected system, but also drops a ZBOT variant. Users affected by this malware may find their personal information stolen and their online banking accoutns compromised.

To get a one-glance comprehensive view of the behavior of this File infector, refer to the Threat Diagram shown below.

This file infector appends its codes to target files.

It executes the dropped file(s). As a result, malicious routines of the dropped files are exhibited on the affected system.

Technical Details

File size: Varies
File type: EXE
Memory resident: Yes
Initial samples received date: 16 Jan 2014
Payload: Drops files

File Infection

This file infector infects the following file types:

  • EXE

It appends its codes to target files.


This file infector infects files of the following file type(s) in network shares, ensuring its propagation across the network:

  • EXE

Dropping Routine

This file infector drops the following files:

  • %User Temp%\notepat.exe - Detected as TSPY_ZBOT.PNR

(Note: %User Temp% is the current user's Temp folder, which is usually C:\Documents and Settings\{user name}\Local Settings\Temp on Windows 2000, XP, and Server 2003, or C:\Users\{user name}\AppData\Local\Temp on Windows Vista and 7.)

It executes the dropped file(s). As a result, malicious routines of the dropped files are exhibited on the affected system.


This malware searches for .EXE files in removable drives to infect which also serves as its propagation technique.


Minimum scan engine: 9.700
First VSAPI Pattern File: 10.560.05
First VSAPI Pattern Release Date: 24 Jan 2014
VSAPI OPR Pattern Version: 10.561.00
VSAPI OPR Pattern Release Date: 24 Jan 2014

Step 1

Before doing any scans, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 users must disable System Restore to allow full scanning of their computers.

Step 2

Remove malware/grayware files dropped/downloaded by PE_PATNOTE.A


Step 3

Scan your computer with your Trend Micro product to clean files detected as PE_PATNOTE.A. If the detected files have already been cleaned, deleted, or quarantined by your Trend Micro product, no further step is required. You may opt to simply delete the quarantined files. Please check this Knowledge Base page for more information.

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Analysis By: Nikko Tamana

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