Symantec's PCAnywhere becomes PCEverywhere

A hacker affiliated with Anonymous has posted the PCAnywhere source code after failing to wrangle fifty grand from Symantec.

After being responsible for some true hilarity last week after listening in on FBI/Scotland Yard attempts to hunt the group down, another side of Anonymous was on show in what appeared to be negotiations to extort cash. Later the hacker said asking for money was an attempt to show up Symantec. Symantec claimed the emails were a fake.

A torrent has been posted on ThePirateBay, with a claim that Symantec had been misleading its customers over risks:

“Symantec has been lying to its customers. We exposed this point thus spreading the world that ppl need” – #AntiSec #Anonymous Spread and share!”

A copy of the email chain in which Symantec employee Sam Thomas allegedly tried to come to an arrangement to destroy the code – said to have been obtained back in 2006 – was also posted.

As you can see here, if true, demanding cash from a large company is slightly more laborious than you might imagine, with the mundane specifics of transferring the dough snagging the deal.

YamaTough demanded that $50,000 – the price Symantec allegedly put on its source code – was given to an offshore account, and quick. Symantec, for its part, was allegedly adamant that it would take a few days to get the deal signed off by all necessary and get it passed through its financial office.   A drip-feed pay plan was put forward, but YamaTough became impatient and it looks like negotiations broke down.

Just over a week ago, Symantec claimed it was safe to use a patched version of PCAnywhere. Clearly, everything has gone from bad to much, much worse. YamaTough says he is in possession of other source codes, too, and that they will appear on the black market at auction.

Security expert at Sophos, Graham Cluley, believes that it is a threat which faces all firms, and it is a constant battle to stay one step ahead of hackers.

“Any companies which believe they are totally,one hundred percent secure are losing the battle as there is no room for complacency,” he told TechEye.

“The good news for Symantec is that they have been very clear and upfront in telling users to stop using PCAnywhere, and released a patch.  They have been quite open about how users can protect themselves. It was a bold move and can’t have been comfortable, as it is certainly not a normal marketing message to be putting out there.”

As to whether Anonymous is able to claim the moral high-ground, Cluley believes it is just Symantec which has acted correctly: “If Anonymous are saying that Symantec has not been clear with its users then that is up to them to show some evidence.

“However,” Clulely continued, “there is ultimately one group here which has committed a criminal act, and in accessing the source code, this is what Anonymous have done.”