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Norton smites ecclesiastical app

Unholy row

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A faulty definition update from Symantec left vicars in a quandary after it identified a popular ecclesiastical application as spyware.

An 8 July update to Norton Anti-Virus identified a key component of Visual Liturgy - a component called vlutils.dll - as a piece of malware called SniferSpy. Visual Liturgy is a legitimate application used by Church of England vicars to plan and deliver church services.

Symantec said a subsequent update to Norton Anti-Virus fixed the SNAFU.

However, Church House Publishing, the publishers of Visual Liturgy, said they have received no such assurances. Church House has advised users to ignore warnings from Norton Anti-Virus over the file, a situation it acknowledges is undesirable.

The issue triggered a storm of emails and phone calls to Church House from clergymen concerned that its software had exposed them to malware infestation or else, if their systems were set to automatically remove suspicious files, with non-functioning liturgical software. Church House has published an advisory explaining how to download and install potentially deleted components of its software.

Church House expressed disappointment with Symantec's "tardy" response to the issue. Symantec disputes this and says an update issued on 11 July corrects the misdiagnosis, ZDNet reports. ®

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