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Wednesday, 18 May 2016 09:09

Symantec A-V products vulnerable to remote exploit

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A security researcher has released details of a remotely exploitable vulnerability which can cause a buffer overflow in the core Symantec Antivirus Engine used in most Symantec and Norton branded anti-virus products.

The flaw was discovered by Tavis Ormandy, a member of Google's Project Zero team.

An advisory said because Symantec uses a filter driver to intercept all system I/O, emailing a file to a victim or sending them a link was enough to exploit the vulnerability.

It said on Linux, Mac and other UNIX platforms, this would results in a remote heap overflow as root in the Symantec or Norton process.

On Windows, this would result in kernel memory corruption, as the scan engine was loaded into the kernel, making it a remote ring0 memory corruption vulnerability.

Proof of concept exploits were also provided along with this advisory.

In its advisory, Symante acknowledged the existence of the flaw. It said it had been notified of a critical issue in the AVE scan engine when parsing incoming malformed portable-executable (PE) header files.

"Such malformed PE files can be received through incoming email, downloading of a document or application, or by visiting a malicious web site. No user interaction is required to trigger the parsing of the malformed file," the advisory read.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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