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Symantec dismisses blind SQL hack claims

'It's just an error message'

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Symantec's website has been given the once-over by the same Romanian hacking group that exposed security problems with websites run by Kaspersky Lab, F-Secure and Bitdefender earlier this month.

The hacker, Uno, claims that the document download centre section on Symantec's European site is vulnerable to a blind SQL Injection attack. This flaw in a secure server normally reserved for resellers is the sort of thing that might permit access to the security giant's databases, Uno suggests. Symantec denies this.

The three screenshots Uno has posted thus far fail to substantiate the claim that Uno has uncovered anything more than a website error. Symantec responded to reports of the potential snafu with an assurance that its site was and remains secure. Uno had simply stumbled upon an error message, it said.

Symantec was notified of a reported security vulnerability on a webpage within Symantec's website. Upon notification of the potential vulnerability, Symantec immediately took the site down, conducted comprehensive testing and determined that the issue is not a security vulnerability. It appears that the individual who reported it based the report on an error message.

Symantec has addressed this issue and the web page is back up and running. Symantec can confirm that no company or customer information was exposed.

In a separate posting on the hackersblog.org frequented by Uno, Symantec adds that "upon thorough investigation, we have determined that the Blind SQL Injection is, in fact, not effective. The difference in response between valid and injected queries exists because of inconsistent exception handling routine for language options."

Uno has now uncovered problems of varying seriousness involving the websites of F-secure, emea.symantec.com, usa.kasperky.com, and BitDefender. All the reported flaws involved SQL Injection techniques, a common class of vulnerability used to either attack websites or plant malicious code as part of a drive by download attack. Uno has probably proved his point by now that even security suppliers, who ought to know better, are not immune from problems in this area, and we can't help wishing he'd move onto something else.

Like the third and fourth sequels of horror movie franchises, the security website hack show is coming back with fewer and fewer returns. ®

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