Sponsored by..

Showing posts with label Symantec. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Symantec. Show all posts

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


Well, this is interesting. Users of Norton Antivirus are finding an application calls PIFTS.EXE that is try to call out. But every time anyone posts a query on the Norton support forum, it gets deleted immediately (see this search).

PIFTS.EXE appears to be a part of a patching application. The executable itself is unencrypted and contains several interesting bits of text such as:

  • http://stats.norton.com/n/p?module=2667
  • The ping url is %s PATCH021809DB
  • d:\perforce\entiredepot\consumer_crt\patchtools\patch021809db\release\PIFTS.pdb
  • SOFTWARE\Symantec\PIF\{B8E1DD85-8582-4c61-B58F-2F227FCA9A08}\PifEngine
When run, it calls home to the following URL: http://stats.norton.com/n/p?module=2667&product=unknown&version=-1&e=-1&f=-1&g=-1&h=-1&i=0&j=-1 hosted on at Swapdrive in Washington. Swapdrive is owned by Symantec, who make Norton.. so there's nothing suspicious there.

One odd thing is that the PIFTS.EXE executable is padded out to precisely 100KB (102,400 bytes) with a string saying "XXPADDINGPADDINGXX" several times. Presumably Symantec have their own reason for making sure that the file is exactly this length.

PIFTS.EXE appears to be contacting a statisitical tracking server, possibly to report back on the installed version. Perhaps this violates Symantec's privacy policy, perhaps it's part of the testing process that was accidentally included in the update.

Some people might say that the way Symantec is deleting posts indicates a cover-up. It is certainly suspicious, but my best guess is that there's a quality control issue here and the PIFTS.EXE process was never meant to be released.

VirusTotal gives it a clean bill of health. ThreatExpert shows that it doesn't do much except call home.