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Symantec acknowledged on Friday that its enterprise anti-virus product line has an unpatched, "zero-day" vulnerability that can be used by attackers to hijack systems.
"Symantec Antivirus is susceptible to a remote code-execution vulnerability. This issue allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code with SYSTEM-level privileges, facilitating the complete compromise of affected computers," the company said in an alert Friday to customers of its own DeepSight Threat Management System.
Thursday, security vendor eEye Digital released a preliminary alert that said Symantec AntiVirus 10.x and Symantec Client Security 3.x included a remotely-exploitable vulnerability that could be attacked via a network-style worm which wouldn't require any user interaction to compromise a computer.
In a truncated advisory posted to its own Web site, however, Symantec claimed that none of its Norton-labeled consumer-grade anti-virus titles were at risk. Those products include Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security.
The Cupertino, Calif. security giant also downplayed the risk. "Symantec has not had any reports of any related exploits of this suspected vulnerability," a company spokesman said in an e-mail to TechWeb. "[And] Symantec Product Security is working on providing prompt mitigation solutions for any confirmed issues," he added.
The spokesman, however, would not comment on a timeline to patch the vulnerability nor on any results of its investigation.
"Specific details are being withheld by Symantec and the researchers that found this vulnerability, eEye Digital Security, until updates are available," Symantec said in the DeepSight alert. "This is to prevent development of exploits and malicious code while a fix is pending."
The last time a major security vendor had a vulnerability that was attacked b a no-user-interaction worm was in 2004, when Internet Security Systems' (ISS) BlackICE Firewall was victimized by the "Witty" worm. Within days of the ISS vulnerability being disclosed (and patched), Witty infected 10,000-50,000 systems worldwide, and destroyed data on some enterprise hard drives.