Symantec recommends disabling pcAnywhere and waiting for security patches

Symantec identified serious security issues in pcAnywhere after the product's code was stolen

Security vendor Symantec has advised users of its pcAnywhere remote control software to disable it, because hackers with access to the product's source code could exploit security holes identified in the application.

Earlier this month Symantec confirmed that the source code for the 2006 versions of Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition, Norton Internet Security, Norton SystemWorks and pcAnywhere was stolen by hackers.

The security vendor said at the time that because the code is old, customers running Norton products today should not be in any increased danger of cyberattacks. However, the company admitted that users of pcAnywhere, which has not changed as much as the Norton products over the past few years, might face an increased risk because of the leak.

In a white paper published on Monday, Symantec revealed that encoding and encryption elements used by pcAnywhere to secure PC to PC communications were found to be vulnerable. "Therefore it is possible that successful man-in-the-middle attacks may occur depending on the configuration and use of the product," the company said.

If attackers manage to obtain the cryptographic key used by the application they can launch unauthorized remote control sessions and potentially gain access to other data stored on an internal network.

The application's login credentials can also be intercepted with the help of a network sniffer. However, for this to happen, the attacker must already have access to the network via a malware-compromised computer or some other method.

"At this time, Symantec recommends disabling the product until we release a final set of software updates that resolve currently known vulnerability risks," Symantec said in a statement.

"For customers that require pcAnywhere for business critical purposes, it is recommended that customers understand the current risks, ensure pcAnywhere 12.5 is installed, apply all relevant patches as they are released, and follow general security best practices," the company said.

Symantec's white paper includes general and pcAnywhere-specific security recommendations, as well as links to instructions for disabling or uninstalling the product.

In addition to being sold as a stand-alone program, pcAnywhere is also bundled with other Syamantec products like Altiris Client Management Suite version 7.0 or later, Altiris IT Management Suite version 7.0 or later and Altiris Deployment Solution with Remote v7.1.

"Our current analysis shows that all pcAnywhere 12.0, 12.1 and 12.5 customers are at increased risk, as well as customers with prior, unsupported versions of the product," Symantec said in its white paper.

A patch for pcAnywhere 12.5 was released on Tuesday in order to address two security vulnerabilities that could lead to arbitrary code execution or privilege escalation. The flaws were reported privately to Symantec by security researchers Tal Seltzer and Edward Torkington.

"Additional patches are planned for release during the week of January 23 for pcAnywhere 12.0, pcAnywhere 12.1 and pcAnywhere 12.5," Christine Ewing, director of product marketing for Symantec's Endpoint Management group, said in a blog post on Tuesday. "Symantec will continue to issue patches as needed until a new version of pcAnywhere that addresses all currently known vulnerabilities is released."

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?