Hackers associated with the Anonymous hacktivist collective published the source code files for Symantec's Norton Utilities 2006 product on The Pirate Bay BitTorrent website on Monday, but according to the security vendor the same files had been released in January.
The Pirate Bay torrent was accompanied by a message in which the hackers referred to Symantec as "the worst security vendor on planet Earth" and hinted that the release is not the result of a new security breach. "As many of you know this was planned back before Sabu was arrested," the hackers said.
Sabu, the founder of Anonymous-affiliated hacker group LulzSec, was arrested in June 2011 and subsequently worked as an informant for the FBI. However, the public didn't learn about his arrest and FBI involvement until March 2012.
"Symantec is aware of the claims made online that a group has posted the source code for Norton Utilities 2006," Cris Paden, manager of corporate communications at Symantec, said Tuesday via email. "We have analyzed the code that was posted and have concluded that it is the same code that was already posted by another group in January 2012."
At the beginning of January, a group of hackers called Lords of Dharmaraja, also affiliated with Anonymous, claimed to have stolen the source code for multiple Symantec products and tried to extort money from the company.
A few days later, the group released the source code for the 2006 version of Norton Utilities with the intention of helping a Washington state man's lawsuit against Symantec. The man had filed a complaint claiming that the trial versions of Norton Utilities and several other Symantec products display misleading information about the "health" of their users' computers in order to scare them into buying the full version of the products.
Norton Utilities is a product that includes different Windows system optimization and maintenance tools like registry defragmenter, registry cleaner, disk defragmenter, disk cleaner, file recovery, services manager and others.
"As we stated at that time, the 2006 version of Norton Utilities is no longer sold or supported," Paden said. "The current version of Norton Utilities has been completely rebuilt and shares no common code with Norton Utilities 2006."
Furthermore, the code's leak poses no security threat to users of the latest version of Norton Utilities or other Symantec products, Paden said.
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