Symantec's leading antivirus software, which protects some of the world's largest corporations and US government agencies, suffers from a flaw that lets hackers seize control of computers to steal sensitive data, delete files or implant malicious programs, an Associated Press report said.
Symantec said it was investigating the issue but could not immediately corroborate the vulnerability, according to the report.
If confirmed, however, that the threat to computer users would be severe because the security software was so widely used and because no action was required by victims using the latest versions of Norton Antivirus to suffer a crippling attack over the Internet, according to the report.
Symantec has boasted its antivirus products are installed on more than 200 million computers.
A spokesman, Mike Bradshaw, was quoted as saying that the company was examining the reported flaw but described it as "so new that we don't have any details."