Researcher releases exploit code that can allegedly crash pcAnywhere

Exploit code for a denial-of-service vulnerability identified in Symantec's pcAnywhere product, was published on the Internet

Exploit code targeting a newly identified vulnerability in Symantec's pcAnywhere computer remote control product has been published on the Internet, exposing its users to possible attacks that disrupt the software's functionality.

The code was published Friday on Pastebin by Johnathan Norman, director of security research at network security vendor Alert Logic, and can be used to crash an important pcAnywhere service called awhost32.

The denial-of-service (DoS) condition is not persistent, because the awhost32 process is restarted automatically, Norman said. This means that attackers would need to execute the exploit in a loop in order to create longer disruptions.

This is just one of several vulnerabilities that Norman claims to have identified in pcAnywhere while investigating a more serious remote code execution flaw patched by Symantec last month. "Not sure what I'm going to do with all of them," Norman said in a blog post on Friday.

According to the researcher, the exploit works against fully patched versions of pcAnywhere. "Symantec is aware of the posting and is investigating the claims," a Symantec spokesman said via email. The company could not provide any additional information at this time.

This vulnerability disclosure comes after hackers associated with the hacktivist group Anonymous leaked the source code of pcAnywhere on the Internet at the beginning of this month.

Following the source code's theft in early January, Symantec recommended that pcAnywhere users disable the application until it had a chance to issue patches for several vulnerabilities found in the product. Later that same month, the company gave pcAnywhere a clean bill of health after releasing several hotfixes.

However, the leak of the product's source code could theoretically pave the way for the identification of other vulnerabilities. An analysis of the leaked pcAnywhere files and documents performed by an anonymous researcher and published Friday by the InfoSec Institute concluded that the application has not changed much over the years. The current version is probably a continuation of the old code base instead of a rewrite.

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Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
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