McAfee has admitted that older versions of its anti-virus software engine contain a security flaw that allows remote hackers to inject malicious code onto users' machines and take them over.
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The buffer overflow vulnerability affects both the VirusScan and GroupShield McAfee product lines, although McAfee maintains that if users have downloaded the company's latest security signatures the hole will now be plugged.
It is users who have lapsed automatic signature update subscriptions that are vulnerable said McAfee.
The vulnerability was discovered by intrusion detection and prevention systems provider Internet Security Systems, which also recently went public with security bugs in software from Symantec, Trend Micro and F-Secure.