Symantec Pifts.exe is no conspiracy. It's human error
Everyone loves a good conspiracy (myself included) - which is what led to a wildfire of speculation today about Symantec trying to download alleged malware onto users PC's, with a file called pifts.exe.
To add further fuel to the fire Symantec deleted posts in its user forum related to the pifts.exe issue.
I just spoke with Symantec and they argue that the file is not malware and that the error they made was a human one.
Jeff Kyle group product manager at Symantec explained to me that pifts.exe was a diagnostic patch for Norton Internet Security 2006 and 2007 versions. The patch was out for three hours before Symantec noticed that the patch wasn't digitally signed. Symantec signs all of its patches to ensure authenticity, by not signing the patch, it triggered a malware alert on anti-virus systems.
"It was a human error that the patch wasn't signed," Kyle said. "I've never seen that before and I can't recall that ever happening at Symantec."
The second part of the PITFS.exe conspiriacy is a little more insidious with all forum postings related to the flaw being deleted by Symantec. That's the part that isn't human error and points to what I personally see as serious and significant issue.