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Security Advisories Relating to Symantec Products - Symantec AutoFix Support Tool ActiveX Control Vulnerabilities


April 2, 2008

Revision History

April 8, 2008 Added CVE information
May 30, 2008 Updated link to the AutoFix tool


Remote AccessYes
Local AccessYes
Authentication RequiredNo
Exploit publicly availableNo


Two vulnerabilities reported in an ActiveX control used by the Symantec AutoFix Tool could potentially allow arbitrary code execution in the context of the user’s browser. Successful exploitation requires user interaction.

Affected Products

Norton 360Windows1.0Update available
Norton AntiVirus Windows2006 - 2008Update available
Norton Internet Security Windows2006 - 2008Update available
Norton System Works Windows2006 - 2008Update available
The affected ActiveX control is shipped only with the consumer products noted above. The control may also have been installed during an online chat session with a member of Symantec’s Consumer Technical Support team. See How to Obtain an Updated AutoFix Tool, below, for information on the update.

Unaffected Products

Norton 360Windows2.0
Norton AntiBotWindowsAll
Norton AntiVirus for MacintoshMacintoshAll
Norton AntiVirus Dual Protection for MacintoshMacintoshAll
Norton ConfidentialWindows, MacintoshAll
Norton GhostWindowsAll
Norton Internet Security MacintoshAll
Norton Partition Magic MacintoshAll
Norton Personal Firewall MacintoshAll
Norton Smartphone Security WindowsAll
Note:The affected ActiveX control is not used to troubleshoot problems with Symantec enterprise software, such as Symantec Endpoint Protection. Enterprise products do not include or use the affected ActiveX control.


IDefense notified Symantec of two vulnerabilities in an ActiveX control (SYMADATA.DLL) used to troubleshoot Symantec consumer products.

The first vulnerability, reported by Peter Vreugdenhill, is a stack based buffer overflow which could allow a successful attacker to run code of their choice in the context of the user’s browser. The user must be enticed to visit a malicious website masquerading as a trusted Symantec site before an attack can be launched.

The second vulnerability occurs due to a design error in the process used to look for and launch the AutoFix Tool. If successfully exploited, an attacker could load and execute code of their choice from a remote share. However, this can occur only if the target system (user’s system) is configured to allow access to remote shares via WebDav or SMB.

Symantec Response

Symantec engineers have developed and released updates to address both of these vulnerabilities, as described under How to Obtain the Update.

The affected ActiveX control is digitally signed and site locked so it can only be scripted from a trusted domain. To successfully exploit either vulnerability, an attacker would need to be able to masquerade as the trusted Symantec website, such as through a Cross Site Scripting attack or DNS poisoning. The user must also be enticed to visit the malicious website from which the attack would be launched. This type of attack is often achieved by sending email or instant message containing a link to the malicious site, and persuading the recipient to click on the link.

The overall severity of these vulnerabilities is considered to be low because of the indirect nature of the attack vector, and the reliance on user interaction to accomplish a successful exploit.

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


Symantec has released IPS signatures for Norton firewall products, to detect and block attempts to exploit the buffer overflow (BID 28507). In addition, Symantec Security Response has released a Bloodhound detection for all Symantec antivirus programs, to detect and block attempts to exploit the launch process design error. These signatures are available by running LiveUpdate.

How to Obtain IPS and Virus Definition Updates

Symantec Norton product users who regularly launch and run LiveUpdate should already have received the IPS signatures and virus definitions. However, to ensure all available updates have been applied, users can manually launch and run LiveUpdate in Interactive mode as follows:
  • Open any installed Norton product
  • Click on LiveUpdate in the GUI
  • Run LiveUpdate until all available updates are downloaded and installed.

How to Obtain an Updated AutoFix Tool

An updated (non-vulnerable) version of the AutoFix tool will be automatically installed if customers participate in an online Chat session with Symantec Technical Support.
Customers can also download and install an updated AutoFix Tool here:


Best Practices

As a part of normal best practices, users should keep vendor-supplied patches for all software and operating systems up-to-date. Symantec recommends any affected customers update their product immediately to protect against potential attempts to exploit these vulnerabilities.

Additional best practices include:
  • Run under the principle of least privilege where possible. Information on creating a limited user account can be found here
  • Run both a personal firewall and antivirus application with current updates to provide multiple points of detection.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited attachments and executables delivered via email or via instant messaging.
  • Do not open email from unknown sources.
  • Do not follow links provided by unknown or untrusted sources.


Symantec would like to thank Peter Vreugdenhill and an anonymous finder, working with the IDefense VCP (http://labs.idefense.com/vcp/) for reporting these issues, and coordinating with us on the response.


These issues are candidates for inclusion in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) list (http://cve.mitre.org), which standardizes names for security problems. CVE has assigned CVE-2008-0312 to the buffer overflow, and CVE-2008-0313 to the launch process design error.

SecurityFocus, http://www.securityfocus.com, has assigned BID 28507 to the buffer overflow reported by Peter Vreugdenhill, and BID28509 to the launch process design error reported by an anonymous finder.


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 responsible disclosure guidelines.
Symantec has developed a Software Security Vulnerability Management Process document outlining the process we follow in addressing suspected vulnerabilities in our products.
Symantec Corporation firmly believes in a proactive approach to secure software development and implements security review into various stages of the software development process. Additionally, Symantec is committed to the security of its products and services as well as to its customers’ data. Symantec is committed to continually improving its software security process.
This document provides an overview of the current Secure Development Lifecycle (SDLC) practice applicable to Symantec’s product and service teams as well as other software security related activities and policies used by such teams. This document is intended as a summary and does not represent a comprehensive list of security testing and practices conducted by Symantec in the software development process.
Please contact secure@symantec.com if you believe you have discovered a security issue in a Symantec product. A member of the Symantec Software Security team will contact you regarding your submission to coordinate any required response. Symantec strongly recommends using encrypted email for reporting vulnerability information to secure@symantec.com.
The Symantec Software Security PGP key can be found at the following location:
Permission to redistribute this alert electronically is granted as long as it is not edited in any way unless authorized by Symantec Software Security. Reprinting the whole or part of this alert in any medium other than electronically requires permission from secure@symantec.com.
Last modified on: April 2, 2008
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