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February 7, 2012

Hackers demand $50,000 from Symantec for anti-virus source code

Firm says the negotiation is part of a sting operation to catch the hackers

By CBR Staff Writer

US security software firm Symantec Corporation flagship products pcAnywhere and Norton AntiVirus’ source codes are held by hackers in a $50,000 extortion attempt.

Hackers associated with the group Anonymous demanded the ransom in return for not publicly posting the source codes, stolen last month.

An email exchange posted yesterday on Pastebin revealed details of negotiations over payment for the source code between a Symantec employee named Sam Thomas, and YamaTough purported to be a representative for the hacker organisation.

Hacker group noted Symantec offered the money in return for the guaranteed destruction of the company’s stolen codes.

As the deal fell through, the hacker calling itself the Lords of Dharamaja claimed to have posted a 1.27GB file of the pcAnywhere source code on the Pirate Bay.

However, the company denied this and said the emails were between the hacker and law enforcement officials as part of a sting operation to catch the hackers, and no money has been paid.

Symantec had previously noted the hacker was in possession of source code for its products, obtained in an earlier 2006 attack.

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Last month, Symantec warned users to disable the pcAnywhere product until the company gathers information related to the theft of the source code.

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