Public Vulnerability Reports

Symantec Norton AntiVirus DiskMountNotify 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 DiskMountNotify component
of Symantec Corp.'s Norton Antivirus 9.0 for Macintosh may allow a user
to gain elevated privileges. The vulnerability specifically exists in
failing to specify an explicit PATH for the "/Library/Application
Support/Norton Solutions Support/Norton
AntiVirus/" binary.

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 add a directory they control to
the beginning of the PATH environment variable and DiskMountNotify will
call 'ps' or 'grep' from that directory 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/Norton
AntiVirus/" binary
will prevent exploitation, but may prevent automatic scanning on
mounting by non-administrator users.


The vendor has released the following advisory for this issue:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2005-3270 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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