Symantec has denied it offered to pay a group of hackers $50,000 to destroy source code stolen from it, after the Anonymous-affiliated group threatened to post the material online.
The security firm confirmed that it had been approached by individuals claiming to be part of the Anonymous hacktivist group.
Symantec accused the group of “attempting to extort payment... in exchange for not publicly posting stolen Symantec source code”.
Details of an apparent conversation between the hackers and Symantec were subsequently posted online.
In it, the individual purporting to represent Symantec suggested that regular monthly payments could be made via PayPal – an offer quickly rejected.
Symantec told V3 that once it had involved law enforcement agencies, all communications that took place were between law enforcement agents and Anonymous – not Symantec.
“Given that the investigation is still ongoing, we are not going to disclose the law enforcement agencies involved,” the security firm said in a statement.
The group of hackers behind the operation have already published the source code to Symantec's pcAnywhere tools online and have threatened to add Norton Anti Virus source code later today.
This latest episode will heighten embarrassment at the security firm, which last week had to briefly warn users of its pcAnywhere remote access tool to stop using the product until a patch to secure was released.
Symantec has admitted that source code pertaining to several of its products was stolen in 2006. This included code for the 2006 versions of Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition; Norton Internet Security; Norton SystemWorks (Norton Utilities and Norton GoBack); and pcAnywhere.
It is this source code that the hackers have been threatening to publish.
Symantec has previously stated the stolen code is so old that out-of-the-box settings in its existing anti-virus software will provide users with sufficient protection.
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