Symantec has played down fears about a vulnerability in its PGP technology, describing it as a "potential issue" that "cannot easily be exploited".
According to a Pastebin statement, the pgpwded.sys kernel driver distributed with Symantec PGP Desktop contains an arbitrary memory overwrite vulnerability in the handling of IOCTL 0x80022058.
An attacker would need local access to a vulnerable computer to exploit this vulnerability which, if exploited, would allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code.
The statement also said that this vulnerability (METHO_BUFFERED with output_size == 0) exploit works only on Windows XP/2003.
Symantec product marketing manager Kelvin Kwan acknowledged the reality of the vulnerability.
He said the exploit would be very difficult to trigger as it relies on the system entering an error condition first and once in this error condition, the exploit could allow an attacker with lower privileges to run some arbitrary code with higher privileges.
This vulnerability is limited to systems running Windows XP and Windows 2003 and is not present in later versions of Windows.
“The plan is to have a fix in an upcoming maintenance pack. The expected availability of the maintenance pack is early February.”