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Security Advisories Relating to Symantec Products - Symantec Critical System Protection for Windows Default Policy Bypass


May 2, 2014







Symantec does not believe that this bypass represents Symantec Critical System Protection (SCSP) vulnerability.  The policy bypass described in this advisory was targeted against an unpatched installation of a Windows 2003 R2 server which should never be part of a normal installation in any network environment.  The researcher was able to bypass default Symantec Critical System Protection (SCSP) policy settings and fully compromise the unpatched server.  Symantec does feel however, this is an indication that the default policies for SCSP required further enhancements to provide a greater level of protection in the case of an unsafe installation of a windows server on a network.


Symantec Critical System Protection SCSP, Windows version, default policy settings can be susceptible to policy bypass when installed on an out-of-the-box unpatched windows server.  While this is not in any way a normal installation, it could permit unauthorized access to information stored on the targeted system.  The individual could also possibly acquire elevated access on a targeted unpatched system running earlier versions of SCSP for Windows.   

Affected Products





Symantec Critical System Protection

Windows version of SCSP 5.2.8 and prior


Upgrade to SCSP 5.2.9 or Symantec Data Center Security (SDCS):SA 6.0 agents and policies

Note:  With the 6.x release, Symantec Critical System Protection has been rebranded as Symantec Data Center Security.

Unaffected Products




Symantec Critical System Protection/Data Center Security

Linux and Unix 




Symantec was notified of testing done against an unpatched Windows 2003 R2 system running an earlier version of SCSP as the only protection against external attacks implemented by the researcher.  Testing in this environment against various SCSP out-of-the-box policy configurations, the researcher was able, in most instances, to successfully bypass SCSP policies during his staged attacks.  He was successful in gaining access to data on the system and, depending on the SCSP policy enabled and configuration tested, the researcher was at times able to acquire elevated access on the targeted system.

Attack attempts identified in the research generally would require enticing an authenticated user to browse to a malicious web site or click on a malicious HTML link in an email in order to attempt to compromise the targeted system.

In a normal installation, a server protected by SCSP should neither be unpatched nor be externally accessible from the network environment in this manner.  However, an authorized but unprivileged network user or an external attacker able to successfully leverage network access or entice a user to visit a malicious site could attempt to exploit these issues.

Symantec Response

This submission, while done in a configuration that would not normally be seen in any secure business environment, further confirmed improvements of existing SCSP agent features and out-of-the-box policy configurations were required.  Symantec updated default policies to address these type of issues in SCSP 5.2.9 or higher.  Symantec Data Center Security: Server Advanced 6.0 provides additional out-of-the-box hardening features with the inclusion of whitelisting capabilities.

Symantec knows of no exploitation of or adverse customer impact from this.

Update Information

Symantec Data Center Security: Server Advanced 6.0 is available through normal support channels.

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 appreciates the work of Sanehdeep Singh, saneh447@gmail.com, for the research he provided and for reporting his findings in Symantec Critical System Protection.


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

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







BID 67161

Symantec Critical System Protection for Windows Default Policy Bypass






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: May 2, 2014
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