News

Flaw Found in Symantec Antivirus

Symantec Corp.'s leading antivirus software, which protects some of the world's largest corporations and U.S. government agencies, suffers from a flaw that lets hackers seize control of computers to steal sensitive data, delete files or implant malicious programs, researchers said Thursday.

Symantec said it was investigating the issue but could not immediately corroborate the vulnerability. If confirmed, the threat to computer users would be severe because the security software is so widely used, and because no action is required by victims using the latest versions of Norton Antivirus to suffer a crippling attack over the Internet.

Symantec has boasted its antivirus products are installed on more than 200 million computers. A spokesman, Mike Bradshaw, said the company was examining the reported flaw but described it as "so new that we don't have any details."

Researchers from eEye Digital Security Inc. of Aliso Viejo, Calif., discovered the vulnerability and provided evidence to Symantec engineers this week, said eEye's chief hacking officer, Marc Maiffret. He demonstrated the attack for The Associated Press.

Maiffret's company -- which has discovered hundreds of similar flaws in other software products -- also produces intrusion-protection software, called "Blink," that he said already blocks such attacks and can operate alongside Symantec's antivirus products.

Maiffret published a note about the company's discovery on its Web site but pledged not to reveal details publicly that would help hackers attack Internet users until after Symantec repairs its antivirus software. eEye said it intends to describe the problem in detail privately for some of its largest customers.

"People shouldn't panic," Maiffret said. "There shouldn't be any exploits until a patch is produced."

The reported flaw comes at an awkward time for Symantec. Its chief executive, John Thompson, has campaigned in recent months to convince consumers they should trust Symantec -- not Microsoft Corp. -- to protect their personal information.

Maiffret said eEye's testing showed the problem affects Norton Antivirus Version 10, including its corporate editions. He said Symantec's current security suite -- which includes both antivirus and firewall features -- did not appear to be vulnerable.

Featured

  • Microsoft Adds Privileged Identity Management Delegation to Azure Lighthouse

    The commercial release of Privileged Identity Management (PIM)-enabled Azure Lighthouse delegations is now available, Microsoft on Monday announced.

  • Microsoft Commercially Releases Entra Workload Identities

    Microsoft announced on Monday that its Entra Workload Identities service is now available as a commercial product offering, having reached the "general availability" stage.

  • The 2022 Microsoft Product Roadmap

    Microsoft has a lot in the docket for 2022, including new products like SQL Server 2022, Exchange Subscription Edition and Visual Studio 2022 for Mac.

  • OpenSSF Adopts Microsoft Open Source Software Security Guidelines

    The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) announced on Wednesday that it has adopted the Secure Supply Chain Consumption Framework (S2C2F) for ensuring the secure use of open source software (OSS) by developers.