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Symantec fixes mail deletion flaw in security suite

Symantec has fixed a flaw in part of its Norton Internet Security 2003 security software suite that can cause e-mail to be deleted before it reaches a user's inbox.

Users complained that Norton Internet Security 2003 was deleting e-mail, leaving the message "Symantec Email Proxy Deleted Message" in the subject line, said Katherine James, a Symantec spokeswoman in the UK.

"We had a small number of users of Norton Internet Security 2003 who reported that the product was inadvertently deleting e-mails," said Jones, adding that the first report came in on 14 October. Symantec issued a software patch to fix the flaw earlier this week.

The flaw lay in the antispam component of Norton Internet Security 2003, an Internet security suite that includes antivirus, firewall, privacy control, spam alert and parental control software. The antispam feature was designed to flag any unwanted commercial e-mail entering the inbox.

"If a user was running the computer continuously and was receiving a large volume of e-mail, or they had configured their e-mail client to check the mail server frequently, the Norton Spam Alert could cause memory allocation errors, which could cause the e-mail deletion," said James.

Symantec believed only a small number of users had been affected by the flaw because of the small number of complaints. However, the company would not say how many customers complained or where those customers were located.

Norton Internet Security 2003 users can download a patch that fixes the memory allocation error through the application's online update feature.

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