What’s up with Symantec and PIFTS?

A few days ago, users of Symantic’s Norton Internet Protection software starting getting warnings about a file named Pifts.exe that was trying to access the internet.  While users struggled to figure out what this warning was about, Symantec kept very quiet.

In fact, they started deleting forum theads about Pifts on their support forum, leading to even more speculation about what this might be.  This lead to widespread stories about the problem and Symantec’s coverup including CrunchGear (Digg), the Telegraph and many blogs and even ranked highly in Google Trends for a while.

They’re now saying that it was simply a diagnostic patch and the forum deletions were due to a spammer on their boards at the same time.  As CrunchGear says, “Ver-r-r-y convenient”.

Mike at Freebase summed it up best:

Now, this could be a benign program. But Norton’s absolutely bizarre behavior has given this PIFTS file a life of its own.