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[R1] Symantec LiveUpdate Administrator Installation Directory Permission Weakness Local Privilege Escalation



Symantec LiveUpdate Administrator contains a flaw that may allow an attacker to gain access to unauthorized privileges. A weakness in the installation directory (C:\Program Files\Symantec\LiveUpdate Adminstrator) permissions may allow a local attacker to escalate privileges. By placing a specially crafted JSP file in the directory and then requesting it via HTTP, the JSP will be executed with SYSTEM privileges.

In addition to placing a JSP file in the directory, a local attacker could edit tomcat/webapps/clu-test/WEB-INF/classes/clu.properties to change the CLU_DIR variable, allowing them to read files remotely via GET requests to the HttpPutServlet servlet, or edit tomcat/conf/tomcat-users.xml to add a new user to the "lua-clu-role" which would allow them to remotely overwrite files via PUT requests to the same servlet.


The original solution provided by Symantec (upgrade to 2.3.1) tightened up permissions of some directories, but not the root installation directory. There are files in that directory that run with SYSTEM privileges that can be used to gain elevated privileges. Symantec subsequently released 2.3.2 to fix that issue.

Disclosure Timeline

2011-03-29 - Report sent to [email protected]
2011-03-29 - Symantec confirms receipt
2011-06-15 - Symantec publishes Advisory advising upgrade to 2.3.1
2011-09-10 - Symantec releases 2.3.2 fully resolving the issue

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