Hackers demanded $50,000 for stolen Symantec code

Jeff Hargarten

Hackers who stole the source code for Symantec’s antivirus source code demanded $50,000 from the company, Reuters reported.

Symantec had previously confirmed hackers from the Lords of Dharmaraja, a Mumbai-based group, had obtained the blueprints for its security software during a 2006 breach of its networks.

An email chain between the hacker YamaTough and law enforcement agents posing as a Symantec employee started on Jan. 18 reveals long, drawn-out negotiations over the code. YamaTough claims he never intended to take the money, and that the demand was a ploy to humiliate the company by releasing the source code to pcAnywhere and Norton Antivirus anyway.

Symantec has been warning its customers to patch and update their Norton and pcAnywhere products in anticipation that the code could go live. YamaTough has already released some snippets online, even while Symantec claims the breach no longer presents a threat.

The University of Minnesota has a contract with Symantec for unlimited antivirus licenses and the software is found on most school computers.