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20 July, 2001
Symantec LiveUpdate 1.5.x proxy password issues

Symantec LiveUpdate 1.5.x

Symantec is aware of information being disseminated concerning LiveUpdate storing local machine proxy username and passwords as clear text in the registry. See CERT Vulnerability Note VU#814187 available from http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/814187

The LiveUpdate component is an essential piece of technology providing a method to deliver product and virus definition updates directly to the desktop, gateway or server. In LiveUpdate 1.5.x, the user is provided a method to configure LiveUpdate to transmit a username and password to a local proxy server in order to retrieve updates from the Internet. The proxy server application sits between the client application, i.e., a web-browser, and the actual web-server. The proxy server intercepts all requests to the web server and can be used to improve performance for groups of users or to filter requests based on company policies. LiveUpdate 1.5.x did store the local username and proxy password in the registry in the clear, but in LiveUpdate 1.6.x the username and proxy password, if a proxy is used to access the Internet, has been moved to a data file and encrypted by default when entered. In all instances, the proxy password entered is in no way connected with authentication to access Symantec's LiveUpdate server. The proxy password in question is ONLY associated with the local network proxy server.

Risk Impact:
This exposure is highly dependent on network/system configuration.

Security Solution:
Symantec does not see the problem described above as having a serious impact. Most users of Symantec products have upgraded to LiveUpdate 1.6.x, which has been available as a product update since July 2000. Users who have not yet upgraded, or who are concerned by this advisory can find the latest version of Symantec LiveUpdate freely available from Symantec's web site. As a best practice, Symantec recommends that system administrators ensure only authorized users have access to any networked system. Further, if a proxy server is required for authorized Internet access from within the network, the proxy server login and password should NOT be the same as the network domain login and password. Symantec takes the security of their products very seriously and appreciates the support of security professionals in identifying potential areas of concern.

Symantec wishes to thank the engineers at the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (CERT), for their excellent coordination in addressing this issue.

Symantec customers may download the latest LiveUpdate version of 1.6.x at the following location:


The Common Vulnerability and Exposures(CVE) project has assigned the name CAN-2001-0549 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (http://cve.mitre.org/cve/), which standardizes names for security problems.

Symantec takes the security and proper functionality of our products very seriously. As founding members of the Organization for Internet Safety (OISafety), Symantec supports and follows the principles of responsible disclosure. Symantec also subscribes to the vulnerability disclosure guidelines outlined by the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC).

Please contact secure@symantec.com if you feel you have discovered a security issue in a Symantec product. A Symantec Product Security team member will contact you regarding your submission. Symantec strongly recommends using encrypted email for reporting vulnerability information to secure@symantec.com. The Symantec Product Security PGP key can be found at the end of this message.

Symantec has developed a Product Vulnerability Response document outlining the process we follow in addressing suspected vulnerabilities in our products. This document is available below.

PDF Symantec Vulnerability Response Policy PGP Symantec Product Vulnerability Management PGP Key

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Last modified on: Monday, 25-Oct-04 14:40:37