Public Vulnerability Reports

Symantec System Center Alert Management System Console Arbitrary Program Execution Design Error Vulnerability



Symantec System Center is an MMC (Microsoft Management Console) snap-in that allows an administrator to remotely manage Symantec products. The Symantec System Center comes bundled with several Symantec products, including Symantec Client Security and Symantec AntiVirus. It contains an optional component called the Alert Management System Console. This component starts a service (Intel File Transfer) that listens on TCP port 12174.


Remote exploitation of a design error vulnerability in Symantec Corp.'s Symantec System Center may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with SYSTEM privileges.

The vulnerability exists within the 'Intel File Transfer' service, which runs the xfr.exe application. When sent a properly formatted request, this service will extract a string from the request, and use it as the path of a program to execute as a new Process. The process will be started with SYSTEM privileges.


Exploitation of this vulnerability allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code with SYSTEM privileges. In order to exploit this vulnerability, an attacker must be able to establish a TCP session on port 12174 with the vulnerable host.

The vulnerable service is actually part of LANDesk Management Suite. It is not clear whether the behavior described is part of the intended functionality of the program. However, the manner in which the service is being used by the Symantec System Center is unsafe.

In a default client type installation, the Symantec System Center is not installed. The System Center would normally be found on the network administrator's system. In addition, the Alert Management System Console is not a default option in the installation of the System Center.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in Symantec Client Security version 3.1. Previous versions may also be affected.

Symantec has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in the following products:

Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition Version 9.0 MR6 and earlier

Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition Version 10.0 all versions

Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition Version 10.1 MR7 and earlier

Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition Version 10.2 MR1 and earlier

Symantec Client Security Version 2.0 MR6 and earlier

Symantec Client Security Version 3.0 all versions

Symantec Client Security Version 3.1 MR7 and earlier

Symantec Endpoint Protection Version 11.0 MR2 and earlier


The 'Intel File Transfer' service (which launches xfr.exe) can be disabled via the Service Manager. However, this may impair the operation of the Alert Management Service (AMS).

Symantec recommends users of the AMS switch to 'Reporting' to manage alerts in their environments, and disable or uninstall AMS as a temporary mitigation.


Symantec has released a patch which addresses this issue. For more information, consult their advisory at the following URL:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2009-1431 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


10/09/2007 - Initial Contact
10/09/2007 - Initial Vendor Response
08/27/2008 - Vendor Status Update
12/11/2008 - Requested Status Update
12/11/2008 - Vendor Status Update
04/14/2009 - Requested CVE
04/14/2009 - Requested Status Update
04/15/2009 - Vendor Status Update
04/28/2009 - Coordinated Public Disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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Copyright © 2009 Verisign, Inc.

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