Claudine Beaumont
March 12, 2009

The file, called Pifts.exe, requests permission to dial out to the internet. But users of Symantec’s Norton Internet Protection software have found it almost impossible to find more information about the file’s origins and purpose, and the situation has led to a rash of rumours on online message boards about the true purpose of the file.

[efoods]Security experts, however, believe the file is innocuous and does not pose a threat to internet users.

Many users first became aware of the file on Monday, when their internet protection software popped up a warning that Pifts.exe was trying to access the internet. The location of the file pointed to a non-existent folder within the user’s Symantec LiveUpdate library.

Further investigation by some Norton users suggested that the file attempted to dial out to Norton servers in Africa, while others wildly speculated that “Pifts” stood for Public Internet File Tracking system, and was a sinister attempt to monitor users’ online behaviour.

The rumours were further fanned by Symantec’s apparent decision to delete threads related to the issue from its user support forum, leading some web users to suggest a cover-up by the software company.

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