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Symantec to Customers: Turn Off the Software!

Software companies have a simple goal -- get us to use their software! When it comes to pcAnywhere, Symantec has the opposite tack -- please don't use my software!

It seems that hackers stole the pcAnywhere source code, giving them the keys to the attack kingdom. Talk about open borders.

This is all pretty shocking but what really makes my hair stand on end is the fact that the code was stolen nearly six years ago. Only now is Symantec telling customers to deactivate the remote control software while it works on a fix.

The essential nature of the software makes attacks, to my mind, especially troublesome. After all, what is the top form of attack? Remote code execution. What does pcAnywhere do? Remotely control PCs. Double whammy!

Why did Symantec wait so long? Apparently it was hoping nothing untoward would be done with its source code, and so far no attacks are traced to the theft. However, the hacker group Anonymous is now making noise about the code, which has raised alarm bells.

Does this all scare the liver out of you, and how, as a vendor, would you handle it? Thoughts and conclusions welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 01/27/2012 at 1:19 PM


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Reader Comments:

Sat, Jan 28, 2012 skooterfd ND

Easy fix? Just re-engineer the software. Start from scratch and write a new program that basically does the same thing. Then give the new program to those that already have a license for your old version that has been stolen. If no body is using the old program because you've replaced it, no problem. Just don't make the mistake of trying to profit from it by charging your customers for the new program.

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 Ken Marsh

Yikes! Talk about to little to late!

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 Bill Winona

Our system admins have coined the phrase "pceverywhere" and will not allow any of the ports used by it to be opened thru the firewall.

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 Ryan Coyle Utica, NY

It's 2012, who still uses pcAnywhere? I'd be a lot more troubled if you know, this happened in 2006.

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