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Symantec Endpoint Security throws out error bugs

But remains functional, company says

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Update Symantec is working on a patch for a bug that generates errors in corporate security protection updates. Workarounds designed to quell the message storm are available but a more comprehensive fix is still in testing.

The glitch in the Symantec's LiveUpdate package has left sysadmins managing Symantec Endpoint Protection coping with "broken" clients, according to Reg reader Richard who manages the network of a UK college. Updates to the Decomposer function of Symantec Endpoint Protection last week, a software component that decompresses or unpacks files, meant that clients spew our errors every time they attempt to download further updates.

Symantec has published an advisory detailed workarounds. Posts on Symantec forums indicate that the problem first reared its head on 11 February. Richard's experiences seem fairly typical.

"On the 11 I noticed that the log files on the server were filling up with LiveUpdate errors, I contacted Symantec support who ran through a few things with me and he went away stumped, promising to get back to me soon," he told El Reg.

"So I turned to the Symantec forums, the replies came flooding in, looks like every Symantec customer worldwide has been affected by the issue, it turns out they posted corrupt Decompositer definitions and it's broken the client on people's machines."

The incident has sparked a lively debate on Symantec's forums between some disgruntled customers and staffers over the general quality of its security software and, more particularly, the security giant's quality assurance and testing regimes.

Symantec acknowledged the error-generating bug, but says the product remains functional. "This issue would have led users to see "Error 58/55" in their SEP log files. The issue shouldn’t have done anything but generate errors — there should have been no issue with the product itself," a spokesman said.

Richard said the problem didn't cause problems in downloading anti-virus definitions even without applying workarounds (contrary to earlier versions of this story). Nonetheless the issue is still causing all sorts of grief. "Anti-virus updates appear to come down fine. It’s just a decomposer issue, but does that mean that anti-virus can’t scan inside archives until the problem is fixed? Symantec aren't saying," he said.

"However many many people are still having problems with things like the errors filling up logs and grinding servers to a halt. I personally figured something was wrong when none of my users could log on, there were temp files from live update littering the boot drive of the server and it had no free space," Richard reports. ®

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