Symantec pcAnywhere Insecure File Permissions Local Privilege Escalation

EDB-ID: 18823 CVE: 2011-3479 OSVDB-ID: 78533
Author: Edward Torkington Published: 2012-05-02 Verified: Not Verified
Exploit Code:   Download Vulnerable App:   N/A


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Name: Symantec pcAnywhere insecure file permissions local privilege escalation 
Release Date: 30 April 2012 
Reference: NGS00117 
Discoverer: Edward Torkington <> 
Vendor: Symantec 
Vendor Reference: 
Systems Affected: 

Symantec pcAnywhere 12.5.x 
IT Management Suite 7.0 pcAnywhere Solution 12.5.x 
IT Management Suite 7.1 pcAnywhere Solution 12.6.x 

Risk: High 
Status: Fixed 

Discovered: 23 August 2011 
Released: 14 September 2011 
Approved: 14 September 2011 
Reported: 23 August 2011 
Fixed: 24 January 2012 
Published: 30 April 2012 


Inadequate file permissions on application binaries could result on local privilege escalation 

Technical Details 
A number of key files in the C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\ folder are writable by any user: 

C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\WinAw32.exe Everyone:(OI)(CI)F 

C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awrem32.exe Everyone:(OI)(CI)F 

C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awhost32.exe Everyone:(OI)(CI)F 

It is trivial to replace these .exe (including the main pcanywhere exe, winaw32.exe with a malicious binary). When launched by the admin, privilege escalation would be gained. The awhost32.exe is set as a service under some scenarios (SYSTEM) and allows a user to privilege escalate by overwriting this binary. 

Fix Information 

An updated version of the software has been released to address these vulnerabilities: