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Symantec Source Code Released Today, Says Hacker

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 27 comments

Anonymous promises to release the source code of Norton Utilities later today in celebration of the related class-action lawsuit filed against Symantec earlier this week.

On Friday, hacker Yama Tough, one of the "Anonymous Avengers of Indian Independence Frontier," said on Twitter that the hacktivist group will release on Friday stolen Norton Utilities source code to accompany the current class-action lawsuit filed against Symantec in California.

The news follows a similar threat last week made by the hacker group Lord of Dharmaraja who claimed to have retrieved the source code while raiding servers of the Indian Military Intelligence. The group posted the source code's documents as proof of their bounty, and promised to release the actual data once the download mirrors were established.

"We are working out mirrors as of now since we experience extreme pressure and censorship from US and India government agencies," the group said.

Eventually Symantec confirmed that a segment of Norton's source code used in two of the older enterprise products was retrieved, one of which has been discontinued. However the company's own network wasn't breached in order to gain access to the code, but rather it was grabbed from a third party's server.

"We are still gathering information on the details and are not in a position to provide specifics on the third party involved," Symantec said last week. "Presently, we have no indication that the code disclosure impacts the functionality or security of Symantec’s solutions. Furthermore, there are no indications that customer information has been impacted or exposed at this time."

On Friday company spokesman Cris Paden said Symantec had no additional information, "particularly with regards to any new claims Anonymous is making."

On Tuesday, James Gross, a resident of the state of Washington, filed a class-action lawsuit in District Court in San Jose, California, against Symantec, accusing the security firm of using scareware tactics to sell its products. Scareware is typically malicious software used to scare consumers into buying products by making false claims in pop-up notifications like "you're PC is infected" or "your PC might be running too slow."

According to the lawsuit, Symantec allegedly distributes a trial version of Norton Utilities, PC Tools Registry Mechanic and PC Tools Performance Toolkit that uses a separate software scanner to diagnose the consumer's system. This scanner then reports that harmful errors, privacy errors and other problems exists on the PC even if the machine isn't experiencing those problems.

"The software is falsely informing the consumer that errors are high priority and in addition it is falsely informing the consumer that their overall system health and privacy health is low," said Chandler Givens, an attorney with Edelson McGuire LLP, the firm that filed the suit on behalf of Gross.

The lawsuit later labels Norton Utilities and PC Tools as forms of scareware. As previously mentioned, Norton Utilities is the source code Anonymous threatens to release sometime today.

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Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    freggo , January 14, 2012 9:28 AM
    "This scanner then reports that harmful errors, privacy errors and other problems exists on the PC even if the machine isn't experiencing those problems."

    If this turns out to be true it should be treated as fraud with criminal charges against those of management responsible. It is totally unacceptable for a 'security' company to behave just like the criminals they claim to protect us from.
  • 13 Hide
    freggo , January 14, 2012 11:44 AM
    Back in the days when Peter Norton was turning out the original Norton Utilities his name stood for quality and reliability. Now 'Norton' stands simply for bloatware and greed.
Other Comments
  • 25 Hide
    freggo , January 14, 2012 9:28 AM
    "This scanner then reports that harmful errors, privacy errors and other problems exists on the PC even if the machine isn't experiencing those problems."

    If this turns out to be true it should be treated as fraud with criminal charges against those of management responsible. It is totally unacceptable for a 'security' company to behave just like the criminals they claim to protect us from.
  • Display all 27 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    darkchazz , January 14, 2012 10:13 AM
    Awwww YEAH !!
    Hit 'em hard !!
  • 2 Hide
    styrkes , January 14, 2012 10:49 AM
    I'm not sure about Norton and consumer versions (because I don't use them) but I have used Symantec Enterprise Edition ver 11 and 12. They are both very good and has a low cpu usage as an overall antivirus/spyware/firewall protection. I'm just surprised by how much hate there is in the consumer products. Those harmful errors never happened with me.
  • 0 Hide
    kikireeki , January 14, 2012 10:51 AM
    tomorrow's news:
    Symentec Systems is laying off employees , but it's nothing out of the ordinary, claims Symentec.
  • 5 Hide
    kristoffe , January 14, 2012 11:05 AM
    symantec. I wish you well, but your software has 'kinda' sucked for about a decade now. heal well, get stronger.
  • -4 Hide
    EDVINASM , January 14, 2012 11:26 AM
    Tried a variety of antivirus and Internet Security packages. Most would make my PC crawl, especially when daily check is running, just drop your work and run.. NIS and NAV so far are my best investment. Price is very competitive too. Use it on netbook, notebook and PC. All perform reasonably well. As user above mentioned, surprised to see so many people shouting at Symantec.
  • 13 Hide
    freggo , January 14, 2012 11:44 AM
    Back in the days when Peter Norton was turning out the original Norton Utilities his name stood for quality and reliability. Now 'Norton' stands simply for bloatware and greed.
  • 1 Hide
    xx_pemdas_xx , January 14, 2012 11:46 AM
    edvinasmTried a variety of antivirus and Internet Security packages. Most would make my PC crawl, especially when daily check is running, just drop your work and run.. NIS and NAV so far are my best investment. Price is very competitive too. Use it on netbook, notebook and PC. All perform reasonably well. As user above mentioned, surprised to see so many people shouting at Symantec.


    The reason it works so good is becuase it fake scans. The proof is in the pudding. run malware anti malware and you will find viruses that NAV missed ( because it does not work) the price is not competative. for free you can have microsoft security essentials with malware anti-malware way better value (free).

    The question is. What other better preforming software are you comparing NAV NIS to? your not. So go test out other programs before you can worship one.

    *side note.* Friends new laptop his dad bought him his dad makes him use norten so he can monitor what his son downloads, I have had to remove several viruses already even though nortan is up to date and siad there where none.


    Me and my friends have had two netbooks (acer aspire one) on with NAV is not able to watch a movie.. The other with AVG is able to watch movies, and play big openGL games. This is due to the fact that NAV processes data slower then other programs.
  • 5 Hide
    NuclearShadow , January 14, 2012 11:52 AM
    freggo"This scanner then reports that harmful errors, privacy errors and other problems exists on the PC even if the machine isn't experiencing those problems."If this turns out to be true it should be treated as fraud with criminal charges against those of management responsible. It is totally unacceptable for a 'security' company to behave just like the criminals they claim to protect us from.


    Should but will not. It is extremely rare when a corporation faces criminal charges.
    Just look at Wal-Mart when they would lock the doors at night and make employees work more than scheduled hours (if I am not mistaken without pay too) locking the employees inside the store. This is a insane a large list of crimes committed and each time for each employee would be a added account. Yet of course no one was sent to jail and in the end the employees won a class action which gave them all a amazing $15 each.

    Remember corporations are people, big people, much too big for petty things like the law.

    Note to self: Trademark that ^^^^^ and when I turn 40 run for president as a Republican.
  • 3 Hide
    captaincharisma , January 14, 2012 2:40 PM
    look out people that means there is a new virus in the wild :) 
  • 0 Hide
    eradicate , January 14, 2012 3:49 PM
    xx_PEMDAS_XxThe reason it works so good is becuase it fake scans. The proof is in the pudding. run malware anti malware and you will find viruses that NAV missed ( because it does not work) the price is not competative. for free you can have microsoft security essentials with malware anti-malware way better value (free). The question is. What other better preforming software are you comparing NAV NIS to? your not. So go test out other programs before you can worship one.

    I have never encountered any fake scans from Norton. I have been using Norton for the past 3 years. Never had a problem with it bogging down my system. I also use a second scan by spybot search and destroy just to be sure couple times a year and never had anything that Norton missed. The only security program I have encountered to bog down my wife's laptop was AVG paid version. On maximumpc they test security programs every year and Norton has been doing well for the past 3 years.

    http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/choose_your_defender_10_anti-virus_programs_reviewed_and_compared
  • 2 Hide
    LORD_ORION , January 14, 2012 5:12 PM
    Fantastic... good to know that the source code to commercial software it being released to government agencies around the world.

    Especially to the "allies" who actually hate us.

    If there is ever a cyber war, the US will crippled, and it will be their own stupid fault.
  • -5 Hide
    otacon72 , January 14, 2012 5:55 PM
    Reading some of the comments here makes me laugh. They are releasing the source code....um ok and? It's not going to help write some virus..lol Anon thinks they are a big fish in the grand scheme of things when in fact they are minnows.
  • 3 Hide
    HEXiT , January 15, 2012 3:48 AM
    i guess the norton pr team is out in force... norton has been junk since the 90's every system i installed it on ended up infected withing a few days. collage kids will find the nastiest sites. but thats no excuse as it is supposed to stop infections.
    so i switched to avira and then added a-squared. the infection rates dropped dramatical... six months later i was called back to uninstall norton... thing is i removed it 6 months prior but it was still putting popups on screen asking for updates... it was that embedded in the system...

    there are at least 10 better anti-viruses out there and a good half dozen Internet suites. part of the problem is that norton is so poor at keeping up, that it becomes a target that the virus creators. they know they can easily and consistently bypass it so create more and more viruses that it cant detect..time and time again they were told the engine is full of holes, but refuse to take user input on board. really there arrogance is astounding when so many pay them for what amounts to a useless product.end result a very very poor catch rate and some very unhappy customers.
    personally im not surprised they have gone down the scare tactics route as there product was being left behind... all that remains for them to do is start uploading malware onto the users machines and there fall will be complete... ANTIVIRUS 2012 any1?...

    as a guide to sum1s pc knowledge i ask what they think the best av's are and if they say norton within the first 5 answers i know they think they know more than they actually do... so i guess its good for 1 thing, and thats to out blaggers.
  • 2 Hide
    HEXiT , January 15, 2012 3:53 AM
    otacon72 01/14/2012 8:55 PM

    Reading some of the comments here makes me laugh. They are releasing the source code....um ok and? It's not going to help write some virus..lol Anon thinks they are a big fish in the grand scheme of things when in fact they are minnows.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    if you have source code you can find holes and exploit em... obviously you missed that...
    they may well be little fish in a big pond but there shoal gets bigger every day... i wouldn't compare em to minnows but rather piranha as they have chewed up and spat out quite a few lier's/cheats and helped give the public an incite into what governments are hiding...

    you may not like or agree with em, but they certainly are making a name for themselves.
  • 3 Hide
    dc_webster , January 15, 2012 6:00 AM
    Wow... I am surprised at the Symantec hate. I'd be the first to say that their products went to sh*t in the mid-2000s but I had, I thought, with some research, found their latest products to be right up there with the likes of Avira and Eset and others at the top of the list for resource usage and actual detection figures. Some of the recommendations for NIS in its latest versions only, came from Tom's Hardware. This was two years ago, and I would like to know what others think is now the best software? Avira appeared to be the best when I last "looked" into the issue, but it was so expensive for licenses. Is NIS really crap now? It didn't appear to be two years ago when I spent several hours looking at my options. RFCs please!
  • 0 Hide
    HEXiT , January 15, 2012 6:18 AM
    i use the free version. the only difference is that it only updates 1s a day while the payed version of the av updates as much as 2-3 times an hour. yeah the suite has more features than the basic free version but you can pair avira with the likes of malware bytes and you have absolutley top draw protection... 2 years, 0 infections (checked 1s a month with multiple avs, a new 1 every month) and i dont surf safe...
    kaspersky is probably 1 of the most widley used and it does have some excellent stats. nod 32 is still going strong... 1s i insist people stay away from is norton first, avast and avg...
    althoug avast isnt as bad as it seems it does have some real issues...
  • -1 Hide
    amuffin , January 15, 2012 7:52 AM
    Uh oh so would it be a good idea to uninstall norton!???
  • -1 Hide
    g00ey , January 15, 2012 10:22 AM
    I have experienced a steadily growing number of false positives reported by these AV programs and I don't think it should be taken lightly because eventually it makes the user not take what the AV program reports seriously. This would be unfortunate the day when the AV program reports a real threat.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , January 15, 2012 3:53 PM
    While I feel bad for Norton for having their code stolen, I can't help but feel this is karma.
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