March 10, 2009 (17:26):The Register now has an article on this. Law enforcement backdoors and hoaxes gone wrong are amongst the main conspiracy theories. All we really want is an official report from Symantec to clear up the issue; it doesn't seem so strange anymore, just a little bewildering.
March 10, 2009 (16:15):SANS Internet Storm Center says they had a phone conversation with a Symantec employee confirming that the program is theirs; they said it is part of the update process which is not intended to do harm. However, Norton still hasn't explained why they are seemingly covering their tracks.
March 10, 2009 (15:41):According to Encyclopaedia Dramatica, this could be part of a the so-called "Magic Lantern" software by the FBI – though Encyclopaedia Dramatica is by no means a trustworthy source, whatsoever. This is a little far-fetched because the executable was not directed at the States, just Norton users in general. However, Wikipedia's Norton entry also supplies evidence to this theory.
March 10, 2009 (15:22):Norton forums are now officially in maintenance mode. There is still no word from Norton as to what pifts.exe is.
March 10, 2009 (14:35):Norton's community forums kept going down and were taken offline for maintenance at one point. They seem to be back now though.
March 10, 2009 (13:59):I'm getting a lot of traffic directly from the Norton forums; apparently their is a spam raid in progress and a load of threads are linking to this post! The moderator's don't seem to be able to keep on top of the deleting anymore. I've got 174 active visitors just staring at this post as we speak.
March 10, 2009 (11:40):Digg is now fully available again. This article has been submitted. Digg it, we need something on the front page!
March 10, 2009 (10:42):There were a load of articles about this on Digg and the whole site (yes, Digg) seems to have gone down. It's disappeared. However, using a proxy server to access Digg works fine; are we being blocked from accessing it? This is getting weird.
Apparently something big is happening. A mysterious program known as pifts.exe is attempting to contact a server in Washington DC and seems to be associated with Symantec's anti-virus system, Norton. There is virtually no information on the internet regarding pifts.exe, aside from this blog and threads such as these. Symantec are supposedly deleting any mention of pifts.exe from their community forums and so users have moved on to community blogs and forums, such as ZoneAlarm.
On ZoneAlarm's forums, one person reports talking with various representatives of Symantec for two hours without receiving any answer as to why inquiries posted on the Symantec forums were being deleted. The caller was told that pifts.exe is part of Symantec's update installation process, was denied any further information regarding the purpose of the file and was repeatedly transferred to a new representative when asking why inquiries about pifts.exe were being deleted from Symantec's forums.