Latest in Gear

Image credit: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Symantec antivirus security flaw exposes Linux, Mac and Windows

A victim doesn't even need to open the email for this exploit to work.
813 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Security holes in antivirus software are nothing new, but holes that exist across multiple platforms? That's rare... but it just happened. Google's Tavis Ormandy has discovered a vulnerability in Symantec's antivirus engine (used in both Symantec- and Norton-branded suites) that compromises Linux, Mac and Windows computers. If you use an early version of a compression tool to squeeze executables, you can trigger a memory buffer overflow that gives you root-level control over a system.

The kickers are that it's both easy to launch the exploit and particularly vicious in most cases. As Symantec is intercepting system input and output, you only need to email a file -- the victim doesn't even need to read the email, just the act of AV scanning it is a trigger -- or send a web link to wreck someone's day. And on Windows, an attack compromises the kernel -- you know, the very deepest level of the operating system.

The good news? Symantec is taking care of this relatively quickly. Its antivirus suites with LiveUpdate should already have a patch in place. The biggest concern surrounds software that requires a more conventional patching process. There aren't any known exploits in the wild, but it's reasonable to presume that Symantec wants to have everything up to date before would-be hackers develop an intrusion technique.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
813 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

View
Chicago will test Samsung's DeX in-vehicle solution in cop cars

Chicago will test Samsung's DeX in-vehicle solution in cop cars

View
Apple warns against storing its titanium credit card in leather

Apple warns against storing its titanium credit card in leather

View
Microsoft tests more control for apps that restart with Windows 10

Microsoft tests more control for apps that restart with Windows 10

View
Terminator T-800 and The Joker are coming to 'Mortal Kombat 11'

Terminator T-800 and The Joker are coming to 'Mortal Kombat 11'

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr