AOH :: ISN-1791.HTM

Symantec bites the hand that feeds..

Symantec bites the hand that feeds..
Symantec bites the hand that feeds.. 

December 6th, 2005

Just over ten years ago (95-09-15) *Hobbit* wrote a little tool called 
netcat (aka nc), swiftly dubbed the "TCP/IP Swiss Army knife". 
*Hobbit* was affiliated with the l0pht, which was later purchased by 
@stake, which was later purchased by Symantec. At some point (circa 
1998), Weld Pond ported the netcat utility to Windows. Weld was an 
original member of the l0pht and later the Director of Research and 
Development with @stake. Weld's version was distributed at @stake for 
some time. Suffice it to say, the l0pht, @stake and its 
members/employees supported netcat's use and distribution. 

Jump forward to today, and Symantec now classifies netcat on a system 
as a High Risk Impact. As aj reznor asked, "is that to say that SYM 
bought a company known then for offering naughty things?" Let us also 
remember that Symantec owns SecurityFocus which conveniently offers 
the tool in their tool repository.

Also amusing are Symantec's "technical details" for this "hacker 

  Hacktool.NetCat arrives as a tool commonly carried by malicious 
  components and dropped on the compromised computer for remote 

  When Hacktool.NetCat is executed, it performs the following actions:

  1. Transmits data across network connections.

Yes, there is no number two on the list. Hopefully Symantec will have 
the foresight to classify TCP/IP stacks as "Hacktool.TCPIP" and label 
it a "High Risk Impact" if found on a system. 

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