Serious Symantec Antivirus Vulnerability



A few things to catch up on this afternoon, but first up is a Serious vulnerability in Symantec Antivirus. (It’s always serious when security software has a vulnerability.) The securityfix is reporting that a vulnerability has been discovered in the way Symantec deals with rar archived files. A specially made rar archive could make a hidden virus or worm in the archive run. It could be exploited remotely, in other words, as Symantec scans the file/attachments in email, the specially crafted rar file could make Symantec run the enclosed bug.


Alex Wheeler, a security researcher who recently left Internet Security Systems’ said there is a problem in the way that Symantec’s software unwraps RAR files, a form of file compression similar to ZIP files. Wheeler found that a virus or worm hidden inside a specially crafted RAR file could be made to run on the user’s machine and allow attackers to take complete control over computers running the program.

Here’s a list of affected products…

According to the Symantec advisory, this problem affects Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition, Symantec Brightmail Anti-Spam, Symantec Client Security, Symantec Gateway Security, Norton Antivirus (for Windows and Mac), Norton Antivirus for MS Exchange, and Norton Internet Security.

There is currently no fix, the only workaround suggested by symantec is disabling the scanning of rar files. There’s a good walkthrough of disabling this for home users at The PC Doctor.

Here’s a summary of the vulnerability at securityfocus. Currently many bugs use rar archives to travel in, including the current dasher worm.

Keep an eye out for updates.

–update 12/21/05–

According to the SANS institute it looks as though symantec has released a definition update that detects the malformed Rar’s as a possible workaround until they get a true fix together. The pattern is titled Bloodhound.Exploit.55

–update 12/22/05–

Still no real fix, just the hueristic detection mentioned in the last update, but according to this article, 63 products are affected.

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