On Thursday, Symantec confirmed that a group of hackers got their grubby little paws on a “segment” of the Norton antivirus source code.
Oddly enough, the source code wasn’t stolen directly from Symantec, but from servers that allegedly belong to Indian military intelligence agencies.
The reason for the Indian government having a copy of the source code still remains unclear, although the director of security strategy at Imperva, Rob Rachwald, says some governments require vendors to supply them with the source code in order to verify their software isn’t spyware in disguise.
Symantec is currently investigating the breach and corresponding theft, but they have stated that it “does not affect Symantec's Norton products for our consumer customers.”
The affected enterprise products have been identified as Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0 and Symantec Norton Antivirus 10.2 (2006 edition). Symantec Antivirus 10.2 has been discontinued and Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0 is 4-5 years old. The version of Symantec Endpoint Protection currently advertised on Symantec’s website is 12.1.
Although it may be a little unnerving for end-users to hear that the source code for the products that are supposed to protect their PCs from malicious programs and related intrusions is out in the open, Symantec stands by the belief that the functionality and security of their products remain uncompromised due to the rapid rate that their software has evolved over the years.
If it the source code was for a more recent version of the software and was released in full, then hackers could potentially discover critical vulnerabilities to exploit and competitors could benefit from taking a gander inside.
Follow us on Twitter at @hyphenet or “Like” us on Facebook or add us to your circle on Google+ to stay up-to-date on the latest tech news and PC security alerts.