If you're running a PC with Symantec's pcAnywhere, beware. New security risks have been raised that could affect hundreds of thousands of users.
Last month, Symantec recommended that its pcAnywhere customers disable or uninstall the software while the company worked on fixes. Several patches were released, most recently an all-in-one patch Feb. 10. Following that release, Symantec indicated the software was safe to use, in conjunction with standard security best practices.
The software is typically used by mobile workers and others to access an office computer from the road.
Source Code Theft
But Boston-based security firm Rapid7 has recently estimated that as many as 200,000 PCs are running unpatched versions -- meaning versions that are exposed, although not necessarily vulnerable. These include up to 5,000 point-of-sale systems that could be connected to financial systems in businesses, which could include credit card information.
In addition, Alert Logic, a security company based in Texas, has posted test code that could crash patched or unpatched PCs running pcAnywhere, via a denial-of-service attack that some observers believe could be used to hijack the machine.
Symantec's unusual move to recommend the disabling or uninstalling of its own software was in response to the 2006 theft of its source code, which the company only revealed in January. The company told the Reuters news service last month that the source code to its flagship Norton security software had been stolen in 2006, and that an internal investigation has shown the breach came from its own servers.
Previously, Symantec had said that the code had been stolen from a third party. There had been some evidence that it might have come from an Indian government server .
The internal investigation followed an extortion threat against Symantec by an individual claiming to be part of Anonymous, who sought a payment in exchange for not posting the source code. Symantec said it did not comply and the code was released.
'Slightly Increased Security Risk'?
In a report published at the time, the company said "the encoding and encryption elements within pcAnywhere are vulnerable" on an unpatched machine. It added that "successful man-in-middle attacks may occur depending on the configuration and use of the product," and that a malicious user could steal session data or credentials. (continued...)
Posted: 2012-02-22 @ 9:03pm PT
Symantec source code revealing became a big issue.