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Bug spotted in Symantec antivirus

Flaw in a component of Symantec's enterprise antivirus products could allow remote attackers to take over computers running the software.

A serious security flaw in part of Symantec's antivirus products puts enterprise systems running the software at risk of intrusion.

A buffer overflow flaw in the Symantec AntiVirus Scan Engine could let remote attackers run code on vulnerable machines, Symantec said in an advisory Tuesday. The problem affects various versions of the engine, which is the part of the security software that actually scans for threats. Security patches are available to correct the problem, which Symantec rates "high" on its risk impact scale.

"Symantec strongly recommends all customers immediately apply the latest updates for their supported product versions to protect against these types of threats," the company said in its alert. No attacks that use the flaw have been reported, Symantec said.

The security hole lies in the Web-based administrative interface of the Symantec Antivirus Scan Engine, the company said. This interface is part of several of the company's corporate antivirus products. An attacker could exploit it by sending a malformed request to the interface, security intelligence company iDefense said in an advisory. iDefense reported the flaw to Symantec.

Symantec advises people to check their installation. The administrative interface should be accessible only via a secure segment of the network and should never be open outside a company's network, Symantec said.

Disclosure of the Symantec issue is further evidence that researchers are increasingly looking for holes in security products. Protective technology is commonly installed on PCs, servers, network gateways and mobile devices. As it becomes more widespread, the more attractive a target security software becomes to cybercriminals, experts have said.

Earlier this week a serious flaw in Kaspersky's antivirus products was disclosed.