March 17, 2009
Symantec pcAnywhere Format String Denial of Service

Revision History


Remote AccessNo
Local AccessYes
Authentication RequiredNo
Exploit publicly availableNo

Symantec pcAnywhere is susceptible to a format string vulnerability. An authorized local user may potentially leverage this to crash the pcAnywhere application, leading to a denial of service.

Affected Product(s)
Symantec pcAnywhere12.0, 12.1, 12.5AllUpgrade to 12.5 SP1

Note: Only the versions listed above are supported. Customers running non-supported versions should upgrade to the above mentioned non-vulnerable version.

Layered Defense informed Symantec of a format string vulnerability in Symantec pcAnywhere. This issue can be exploited by a malicious user to crash the application causing a denial of service. Successful exploitation requires local machine access.

Symantec Response
Symantec engineers verified this issue exists on those supported products identified above. Product updates are available for supported affected products.

Symantec is not aware of any customers impacted by this issue, or of any attempts to exploit it.

Information on downloading and applying the upgrade is available from the following locations:

For Enterprise, Small & Mid-Sized Business (SMB) - Download the update from your normal support location

or, use the LiveUpdate option, if authorized, to install this update

Home and Home Office -

pcAnywhere users who regularly run LiveUpdate should automatically receive an updated (non-vulnerable) version. To ensure all available updates have been applied, users can run a manual LiveUpdate as follows:

Best Practices

As part of normal best practices, Symantec strongly recommends:


SecurityFocus,, has assigned BID 33845 to this issue.

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE),, initiative has assigned CVE Candidate number CVE-2009-0538 to this issue.

Symantec would like to thank Deral Heiland with Layered Defense for reporting this issue and coordinating with us while Symantec resolved it.

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