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Security Advisories Relating to Symantec Products - Multiple Symantec Intel Alert Management System Arbitrary Message Creation or Denial of Service

SYM11- 003

January 26, 2011

Revision History



CVSS 2 Base Score: 6.79
Impact 10.0     Exploitability 3.1

CVSS 2 Base Vector: AV:A/AC:H/Au:S/C:N/I:P/A:C

Exploit Publicly Available: No


Symantec was notified of a improper message handling procedures in the Intel Alert Management System (AMS2) that can be used to send arbitrary messages or kill the Intel Alert Handler service.

Affected Product(s)

Product Version Solution
Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition Server 10.x Upgrade to SAVCE 10.1 MR10
Symantec Systems Center 10.x Upgrade to SSC from SAVCE 10.1 MR10
Quarantine Server 3.6 Upgrade to Quarantine Server from SEP 11.0 MR3 or later
Quarantine Server 3.5 Upgrade to Quarantine Server from SAVCE 10.1 MR10


The Intel Alert Management System (AMS2) is used in Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition Server (SAV) ,Symantec System Center(SSC), and Symantec Quarantine Server. AMS2 listens on TCP Port 38292 and allows Administrators to send messages (i.e. email) if a user-specified event occurs.

Symantec was notified of multiple vulnerabilities in AMS2 that make it is possible to send specially-crafted AMS2 messages to the target machine. The results can allow for arbitrary events (launching a program, sending an email) or even shutdown the service through a DOS. The successful exploitation of this vulnerability could result in potential compromise of or a Denial of Service in the affected products.

AMS2 has not been included in a default install of SAV Server or SSC since version 10.0. AMS2 was included in a default install of Quarantine Server prior to SEP 11.0 MR3.

This service is not responsible for any Antivirus or security processes, it simply allows the administrator to trigger messages.

Symantec Response

Symantec engineers have verified these issues and released an update to address them. Symantec customers should update to the latest maintenance release available through normal update procedures.

Symantec knows of no exploitation of or adverse customer impact from these issues.


Symantec recommends upgrading any vulnerable versions of SAVCE Server or Symantec System Center to SAVCE 10.1 MR10. Vulnerable versions of Quarantine Server 3.5 should be upgraded to SAVCE 10.1 MR10. Vulnerable versions of Quarantine Server 3.6 should be upgraded to SEP 11.0 MR3. SEP users running a version of Quarantine Server from SEP 11.x later than MR2 are not vulnerable. Reporting has replaced AMS2 as the recommended method of alerting. Symantec recommends that customers who are still using AMS2 switch to Reporting to manage alerts in their environments.

If the customer is unable to switch to Reporting immediately or upgrade to a non-vulnerable version then Symantec recommends that the customer either disable AMS2 as a temporary mitigation or completely uninstall AMS2.

As an additional mitigation, Symantec recommends blocking port 38292 in the corporate environment. This will effectively disable the alert service from sending or receiving messages.

Best Practices

As part of normal best practice, Symantec recommends the following:
  • 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 the finders of these issues:

    Junaid Bohio of Vulnerability Research Team,Telus Security Labs
    An anonymous finder through Tippingpoint’s Zero Day Initiative(ZDI)
    Nahuel Riva of Core Security Technologies


    BID: SecurityFocus (http://www.securityfocus.com) has assigned Bugtraq ID(BID) 45935 to these vulnerabilities.

    CVE: These issue are candidates for the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) list (http://cve.mitre.org), which standardizes names for security problems. CVE-2010-0111 has been assigned to these vulnerabilities


    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 26, 2011
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