WelcomeEnterpriseSmall BusinessHome & Home OfficePartnersAbout Symantec
March 17, 2009
Symantec pcAnywhere Format String Denial of Service

Revision History


Remote AccessNo
Local AccessYes
Authentication RequiredNo
Exploit publicly availableNo

Symantec pcAnywhere is susceptible to a format string vulnerability. An authorized local user may potentially leverage this to crash the pcAnywhere application, leading to a denial of service.

Affected Product(s)
Symantec pcAnywhere12.0, 12.1, 12.5AllUpgrade to 12.5 SP1

Note: Only the versions listed above are supported. Customers running non-supported versions should upgrade to the above mentioned non-vulnerable version.

Layered Defense informed Symantec of a format string vulnerability in Symantec pcAnywhere. This issue can be exploited by a malicious user to crash the application causing a denial of service. Successful exploitation requires local machine access.

Symantec Response
Symantec engineers verified this issue exists on those supported products identified above. Product updates are available for supported affected products.

Symantec is not aware of any customers impacted by this issue, or of any attempts to exploit it.

Information on downloading and applying the upgrade is available from the following locations:

For Enterprise, Small & Mid-Sized Business (SMB) - Download the update from your normal support location


or, use the LiveUpdate option, if authorized, to install this update

Home and Home Office -

pcAnywhere users who regularly run LiveUpdate should automatically receive an updated (non-vulnerable) version. To ensure all available updates have been applied, users can run a manual LiveUpdate as follows:
  • Open the Symantec pcAnywhere application
  • Click LiveUpdate
  • Run LiveUpdate until all available product updates are downloaded and installed
  • A system reboot may be required before the update takes affect

Best Practices

As part of normal best practices, Symantec strongly recommends:

  • Restrict access to administration or management systems to privileged users.
  • Restrict remote access, if required, to trusted/authorized systems only.
  • Run under the principle of least privilege where possible to limit the impact of exploit by threats.
  • Keep all operating systems and applications updated with the latest vendor patches.
  • Follow a multi-layered approach to security. Run both firewall and anti-malware applications, at a minimum, to provide multiple points of detection and protection to both inbound and outbound threats.
  • Deploy network and host-based intrusion detection systems to monitor network traffic for signs of anomalous or suspicious activity. This may aid in detection of attacks or malicious activity related to exploitation of latent vulnerabilities


SecurityFocus, http://www.securityfocus.com, has assigned BID 33845 to this issue.

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE), http://cve.mitre.org/, initiative has assigned CVE Candidate number CVE-2009-0538 to this issue.

Symantec would like to thank Deral Heiland with Layered Defense for reporting this issue and coordinating with us while Symantec resolved it.

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

Copyright © by Symantec Corp.
Permission to redistribute this alert electronically is granted as long as it is not edited in any way unless authorized by Symantec Security Response. Reprinting the whole or part of this alert in any medium other than electronically requires permission from secure@symantec.com.

The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition. There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on, this information.

Symantec, Symantec products, Symantec Security Response, and secure@symantec.com are registered trademarks of Symantec Corp. and/or affiliated companies in the United States and other countries. All other registered and unregistered trademarks represented in this document are the sole property of their respective companies/owners.

Last modified on: Monday, 16-Mar-09 14:08:33
[an error occurred while processing this directive]