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Hacker group threatens to release Symantec AV source code

Jaikumar Vijayan | Jan. 9, 2012
Symantec is investigating an Indian hacking group's claims that it accessed source code used in the company's flagship Norton Antivirus program.

Symantec is investigating an Indian hacking group's claims that it accessed source code used in the company's flagship Norton Antivirus program.

A spokesman for the company on Thursday said that one claim by the group was false, while another is still being investigated.

Meanwhile, the Indian group, which calls itself Lords of Dharmaraja, has threatened to publicly disclose the source code shortly.

On Wednesday, the group posted on Pastebin what it claimed was confidential documentation related to Norton AntiVirus source code. A review of the material showed what appears to be a description of an application programming interface (API) for Symantec's AV product.

The group also posted what it claimed was the complete source code tree file for Norton Antivirus. That document appears to have been taken down.

'Yama Tough,' the hacker who posted the documents, released at least two more on Google+ allegedly related to Symantec source code. One of the documents appears to be a detailed technical overview of Norton Anti-Virus, Quarantine Server Packaging API Specification, v1.0. The other document, from 2000, describes a Symantec Immune System Gateway Array Setup technology.

Comments posted by Yama Tough on Google+ and on Pastebin suggest that the Symantec information was accessed from Indian government servers.

"As of now we start sharing with all our brothers and followers information from the Indian Militaty (sic) Intelligence servers, so far we have discovered within the Indian Spy Programme (sic) source codes of a dozen software companies which have signed agreements with Indian TANCS programme (sic) and CBI," Yama Tough said in one comment.

Another comment suggests that the hacking group is waiting to set up mirror sites before releasing the Symantec source code. "We are working out mirrors as of now since we experience extreme pressure and censorship from US and India government agencies."

A Symantec spokesman today said that the hacking group has so far made two claims with regard to Symantec source code. One claim made yesterday has already been looked into, the spokesman said. "We investigated that and found that to not be true," the spokesman said. "It wasn't source code. It was a document from April 28, 1999 defining the Application Programming Interface (API) for the Definition Generation Service."

The document explains how the software is designed to work, but includes no actual source code, the spokesman said.

"However, a second claim has been made by the same group regarding additional source code and we're currently investigating that," he said. "For that one, we don't have any information to provide as of yet." the spokesman said.

Rob Rachwald, director of security strategy at security vendor Imperva said it is hard to know what to make of the hacking group's claims.


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