Public Vulnerability Reports

Symantec Norton AntiVirus LiveUpdate Local Privilege Escalation



Symantec's Norton AntiVirus for Macintosh is an antivirus solution for
the Mac OS X environment. More information is available at the link


Local exploitation of a design error in the LiveUpdate component of
Symantec Corp.'s Norton Antivirus 9.0 for Macintosh may allow a user to
gain elevated privileges.

The vulnerability specifically exists in the permissions on the
"/Library/Application Support/Norton Solutions
Support/LiveUpdate/jlucaller" binary which appears to be a Java
interpreter. This binary is setuid, meaning it will run with the
permissions of the owner, and is owned by the System Administrator,
which is equivalent to the Unix root user. A user can simply compile a
Java program and provide it as an argument to this binary, and it will
execute with root level privileges.


Successful exploitation allows a local attacker to execute arbitrary
commands as the System Administrator user. This allows complete system
compromise including the installation and removal of applications, and
ability to read and write any file on the system.


iDEFENSE has confirmed this vulnerability exists in version 9.0.3 of
Norton Antivirus for Macintosh.


Unsetting the setuid bit from the "/Library/Application Support/Norton
Solutions Support/LiveUpdate/jlucaller" binary will prevent
exploitation, but may require that updates be performed as the System
Administrator user.

chmod -s "/Library/Application Support/Norton Solutions Support/LiveUpdate/jlucaller"


The vendor has released the following advisory for this issue:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2005-2759 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


08/31/2005 Initial vendor notification
08/31/2005 Initial vendor response
10/20/2005 Coordinated public disclosure

CREDIT is credited with reporting this vulnerability.

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Copyright © 2005 Verisign, Inc.

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