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Another RootKit


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Here we go again.. hmm wonder what the judge is going to rule this time?  Create a free version of Nortan for all to use?

Symantec Corp. has fessed up to using a rootkit-type feature in Norton SystemWorks that could provide the perfect hiding place for attackers to place malicious files on computers.

The anti-virus vendor acknowledged that it was deliberately hiding a directory from Windows APIs as a feature to stop customers from accidentally deleting files but, prompted by warnings from security experts, the company shipped a SystemWorks update to eliminate the risk.

Symantec, of Cupertino, Calif., is the second commercial company caught in the flap over the use of rootkit-type techniques to hide files on computers. Rootkits are programs that are used to give a remote user access to a compromised system while avoiding detection from security scanners.

Music company Sony BMG faced a firestorm of criticism after anti-rootkit scanners fingered the use of stealthy rootkit-type techniques to cloak its DRM scheme. After malicious hackers used the Sony DRM rootkit as a hiding place for Trojans, the company suspended the use of the technology and recalled CDs with the offending copy protection mechanism.

A spokesman for Symantec referenced the Sony flap in a statement sent to eWEEK, but downplayed the risk to consumers. "In light of current techniques used by today's malicious attackers, Symantec re-evaluated the value of hiding the [previously cloaked] directory. Though the chance of an attacker using [it] as a possible attack vector is extremely slim, Symantec's update further protects computers by displaying the directory," the spokesman said.

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