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Security Advisories Relating to Symantec Products - Symantec Altiris Notification Server 6.x Static Encryption Key


January 28, 2010

Revision History



High (configuration dependent)
Remote Access No
Local Access Yes
Authentication Required Yes (on the Server)
Exploit publicly available No


Symantec’s Altiris Notification Server 6.0.x web console stores a static encryption key for encrypted credentials entered by the administrator. These credentials include ones used to enumerate the computers within a windows domain during discovery sessions allowing dissemination of Altiris agents to unmanaged systems. Additionally, if configured to use SQL Server credentials for normal or reporting database access, these credentials are also encrypted with the key. Unauthorized access to these credentials could potentially result to unauthorized information disclosure of computer names, potential elevated access dependent on the access level of the credentials, or unauthorized access to information stored in the Notification Server database.

Affected Product(s)

Product Version Build Solution(s)
Symantec Altiris Notification Server 6.0.x All 6.0 SP3 R12

Not Affected

Symantec Management Platform 7.x All


Symantec is aware of user/login credentials encrypted with a static encryption key being stored on Symantec’s Altiris Notification Server 6.0.x. These credentials are entered, and encrypted locally with a static encryption key. Credentials are created and used to authorize a discovery session to enumerate a listing of computers within a windows domain for deployment of Altiris agents to unmanaged systems and do not require other than user-level access for full functionality. Additionally, if the Altiris Notification Server is configured to use a SQL Server user name and password rather than Windows Integrated Authentication to access its SQL Server database for either normal or reporting access, Notification Server 6.0.x also encrypts the SQL credentials with a static key.
Access to these encrypted credentials requires the user, authorized or unauthorized, to have access to the Notification Server Management console, the server the Altiris Notification Server resides on, or to the database Notification Server uses to store information. While the credentials are entered by the administrator and encrypted, the encryption key is hardcoded and stored on the server. Knowing the encryption key and having access to the encrypted credentials allows access to the credentials. In the case of the discovery credentials, other than minimal user-level access is not required during a simple discovery session. However, in the event privileged credentials are selected for this function, there is a potential for an authorized but non-privileged user to gain unauthorized access to discovery information or possibly gain elevated access on the server or network.
The SQL database credentials, if so configured, could potentially allow an unauthorized user who had successfully decrypted these credentials to push arbitrary code of their choice to the server and potentially to deployed network clients resulting in possible system/network access or compromise.

Symantec Response

Symantec engineers have verified this issue in Altiris Notification Server 6.0.x and released an update, Symantec Altiris Notification Server 6.0 SP3 R12, to resolve them.
Symantec Management Platform 7.x is not impacted. Customer who can or are in the process of upgrading to Symantec Management Platform 7.x should do so. Customers who are unable currently to upgrade from Symantec Altiris Notification Server 6.x should apply the updates provided to address this issue.
Symantec is not aware of any adverse customer impact from this issue.

Symantec Altiris Notification Server 6.0 SP3 R12 can be downloaded from https://kb.altiris.com/article.asp?article=46763&p=1

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


Symantec would like to thank Matthew Burnett, for identifying this issue and coordinating with us while Symantec resolved it.


Security Focus, http://www.securityfocus.com, has assigned Bugtraq ID (BID) 37953 for inclusion in the SecurityFocus vulnerability database.

This issue is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (http://cve.mitre.org), which standardizes names for security problems. CVE-2009-3035 has been assigned.


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: January 28, 2010
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