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CA issues false warning on JavaScript apps

Pete Tong on New Year's eve

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Updated This story was updated with a statement from CA on 2 January

A mis-firing anti-virus update from CA issued on Monday wrongly identified legitimate JavaScript files as a virus.

The eTrust signature update wrongly identified JSQuery (a JavaScript AJAX library) and Mootools (a JavaScript web 2.0 library) as being contaminated with the Snz-A JasaScript malware. Users running CA eTrust (also known as Vet Anti-Virus) who applied the dodgy update were liable to find themselves confronted by false alarms that their systems were infected when visiting legitimate websites, causing unnecessary alarm in the process.

The dodgy update is DAT 5417 released at 02:22 ET (07:22 GMT) on December 31. A fix was released some nine hours later.

"[The update] wrongly identified two JavaScript items as viruses. An updated signature file (DAT 5419) that corrected the false positive condition was created and released on 12/31/07 at 11:36 ET," CA said in a statement.

Faulty anti-virus signature updates are not uncommon across the industry. The timing of the glitch on New Year's Eve was unfortunate nonetheless the time taken for CA to pull the dodgy update and issue a replacement might be criticised as slow.

Users hit by the slip-up have posted their gripes and compared experiences in various online blogs and forums (example here).

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