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Scanning for pcAnywhere

Note -- this blog was updated on Feb 2, 2012 to highlight detection of the Symantec advisory SYM12-002 as well as new additional Nessus local checks to audit pcAnywhere installations.

With the recent news from Symantec that their source code theft has left pcAnywhere open to attack, it makes sense to audit your network for instances of this desktop sharing software. 

Nessus has many checks that identify the presence of pcAnywhere, the type of network access supported by it, and some vulnerabilties in the application. A current list is shown below for reference:

  • 10006   Symantec pcAnywhere Status Service Detection (UDP)
  • 10794   Symantec pcAnywhere Detection (TCP)               
  • 10798   Symantec pcAnywhere Service Unrestricted Access       
  • 20743   Symantec pcAnywhere Launch with Windows Caller Properties Local Privilege Escalation
  • 32133   Symantec pcAnywhere Access Server Detection Service
  • 35976   Symantec pcAnywhere CHF File Pathname Format String Denial of Service
  • 57795   Symantec pcAnywhere Installed (local check)
  • 57796   Symantec pcAnywhere Multiple Vulnerabilitities (SYM12-002)

In addition, running a credentialed scan with Nessus plugin 20811 provides the ability to detect installed software on Windows computers, which can be useful to find instances of pcAnywhere that may be installed, but not actively running. Note that strings and versions vary from release to release. An example string as reported by a recent Nessus scan is “Symantec pcAnywhere [version 11.5.0]”.

Network traffic can also be monitored with the Passive Vulnerability Scanner to identify instances of pcAnywhere on the network. A current list of passive plugins to detect pcAnywhere is shown below. 

  • 03306 Symantec pcAnywhere Detection
  • 06087 Symantec pcAnywhere Detected

Finally, Tenable’s Log Correlation Engine, will normalize logs from the PVS for observed pcAnywhere sessions in real-time with an event name of “PVS-PCAnywhere_Detected”. These sessions are automatically detected and analyzed for anomalies and connections from known botnets.

External Nessus scans can be performed to determine if your network has any Internet facing instances of pcAnywhere. The Nessus PerimeterService is ideal for this type of scanning as it can scan an unlimited number of Internet-facing IP addresses very rapidly. Users of the Passive Vulnerability Scanner have automatic detection of any Internet-facing service, including pcAnywhere.

An in-depth Nessus Discussions Forum post details how SecurityCenter, Passive Vulnerabiltiy Scanner and Log Correlation Engine users can track pcAnywhere vulnerabilities and usage in realtime.  


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