Symantec has admitted that it was breached six years ago, with the source code for its Norton software stolen.
According to Reuters, unknown hackers obtained the source code to Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition, Norton Internet Security, Norton Utilities, Norton GoBack and pcAnywhere. This was previously denied by Symantec, which said that a document from 28 April 1999 defining the application programming interface for Symantec's virus definition generation service was stolen, and not source code.
Symantec spokesman Cris Paden said at the time: “This document explains how the software is designed to work and contains function names, but there is no actual source code present.”
However, Paden was forced to backtrack on this and admit that it had been breached after an investigation revealed that the company's networks had been compromised.
“We really had to dig way back to find out that this was actually part of a source code theft. We are still investigating exactly how it was stolen,” he said.
“Symantec is currently in the process of reaching out to our pcAnywhere customers to make them aware of the situation and to provide remediation steps to maintain the protection of their devices and information.”
Paden insisted that the 2006 attack presented no threat to customers using the most recent versions of Symantec's software, saying that users are protected against any type of cyber attack that might materialise as a result of this code.
An alert by eEye Digital Security detected a worm that was actively exploiting a remote Symantec vulnerability originally in May 2006 and patched by Symantec on 12th June, 2006. It said: “This vulnerability has been publicly exploited as early as November 30, but this is the first example of a worm leveraging this vulnerability for self-propagation.”