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Kudos0

Symantec Comments on PIFTS.exe

 Symantec released a diagnostic patch "PIFTS.exe" targeting Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus 2006 & 2007 users on March 9, 2009. This patch was released for approximately 3 hours (4:30 - 7:40 PM March 9, 2009 Pacific Time). In a case of human error, the patch was released by Symantec "unsigned", which caused the firewall user prompt for this file to access the Internet. The firewall alert for the patch caused understandable concern for users and began to be reported back to Symantec. Releasing a patch unsigned is an extremely rare occurrence that does not pose any security issues to our users. The patch reached a limited number of Norton customers and has subsequently been pulled from further distribution. Norton users are fully protected and do not need to take any action as a result of this issue. 

There has been activity in the Norton User Forum related to PIFTS.exe which has generated additional concern and media speculation.  At approximately 10:30pmET Monday March 9, Symantec detected that our User Forum boards were being abused by an individual or individuals. One individual created a new user account and posted about the name of the patch executable, PIFTS.exe. Within minutes, several dozen user accounts were created commenting on the initial thread, and/or creating new threads on the topic. Over the next few hours, over 200 user accounts were created. Within the first hour there were 600 new posts on this subject alone. While the intent of the spammer(s) remains unclear, there were no malicious links and it simply resulted in a widespread communications challenge for Symantec. Below are some examples of the forum spam we received from these new user accounts. These forum posts contained no text in the body of the message, simply a subject:

  • O LAWD IM CHOKIN ON PIFTS PLZ HALP
  • OH GOD YOU GOT CHOCOLATE IN MY PIFTS
  • If you wanna be my NORTON/ you gotta deal with my P ! F T S . E X E
  • IF PIFTS.EXE WAS HERE, THEN WHO WAS PHONE?
  • PIFTS.EXE PIFTS.EXE PIFTS.EXE PIFTS.EXE PIFTS.EXE PIFTS.EXE PIFTS.EXE
  • I LOVE MY PIFTS.EXE

Symantec strictly adheres to its Norton Community Terms of Service and does not delete postings unless they are in violation of these guidelines. Upon determining that our User Forums were being abused, Symantec began removing the spam posts.

Finally, it has also been reported by the Washington Post that hackers are taking advantage of this situation. "Some of the top searches (currently the 3rd and 4th result in a Google search) are Web sites that try to install malicious software when you visit them." When searching for information on "pifts.exe," Symantec strongly advises all users to be wary of following links to unknown sites as malicious users are attempting to use this hot topic to distribute malware.


Comments

Kudos0

The above note explains what happened with regards to the PIFTS.exe diagnostic patch and what subsequently occured in the Norton Community Forum.   If you have further comments I highly encourage you to share and post your comments either here on on the Norton Community Forum.

The note is quoted from:  Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 http://community.norton.com/norton/board/message?board.id=nis_feedback&message.id=39119