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pcAnywhere let anyone anywhere inject code into PCs

Symantec plugs holes in desktop remote-control tool

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Symantec is urging users to patch pcAnywhere, its remote control application, following the discovery of a brace of serious security flaws.

The most severe of the two holes allows hackers to remotely inject code into vulnerable systems - made possible because a service on TCP port 5631 permits a fixed-length buffer overflow during the authentication process. This line of attack ought to be blocked by a properly configured firewall, but it'd be stupid to rely on that without patching vulnerable systems.

The other flaw relies on overwriting files installed by pcAnywhere in order to escalate a user's privileges, although miscreants will already need access to vulnerable system to do this.

Neither flaw has been weaponised into exploits by hackers, reckons Symantec. The security firm credits Edward Torkington (of NGS Secure) and independent security researcher Tad Seltzer with discovering the flaws.

pcAnywhere 12.5.x as well as versions 7.0 and 7.1 of Symantec's IT Management Suite Solution are vulnerable.

The discovery doesn't appear to be related to the recent much-publicised leak of the source code for an older version of pcAnywhere. Bugs discovered by that route would likely result in the immediate exploitation of unpatched flaws rather than responsible disclosure that takes weeks to coordinate, as is the case here.

Symantec published the patches on Tuesday, and they can be applied either manually or automatically using Symantec's LiveUpdate system. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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