Feeds

McAfee virus update damages NT 4.0 files

Users urged to upgrade product software

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

An update to Network Associates' McAfee VirusScan anti-virus software has been found to damage the master boot record of Windows NT 4.0 computers, forcing customers to reinstall their operating systems.

The problem occurred because of a conflict between VirusScan/Netshield 4.0.2 - which is now two years old - and the 4120/4110 SuperDAT utility, which automatically updates antivirus protection with a file that contains the latest signature profiles.

Users of the old virus scan engine using the 4120/4110 SuperDat utility were confronted with the alarming message on rebooting: "Operating System Not Found".

In a statement Network Associates said it had pulled the suspect virus definition (or .DAT) libraries and reposted files which do not cause the conflict. It also said that even if the MBR is damaged programs and data on the hard disk should be safe, so reinstalling the operating system will restore the MBR.

"The incompatibility was with a product that was over two years old. It's imperative that people update not only their engine and dats, but also the product itself regularly as new versions are released to ensure up-to-date protection from malicious code," the statement said.

Network Associates builds its virus detection software from three component technologies: a product executable, the scan engine and the virus definition libraries, which contain signatures of the latest viruses. The SuperDAT utility updates the scan engine and virus definition libraries.

The latest version of the VirusScan/NetShield program executable is 4.5 and users are recommended to upgrade to that.

Only last month a similar conflict occurred between another older scan engine and a virus definition file. This raises the interesting question of why Network Associates allows the latest virus updates work with older versions of its scanning engine - but unfortunately no-one from Network Associates was available to field this question.

Conflicts are inevitable, and can be expected again, because the update utility makes assumptions about the functions available in the executable. Other vendors make the latest virus definition files incompatible with older scanning engines and it would make a lot of sense for Network Associates to adopt this approach. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.