Feeds

Trend virus update freezes some PCs

Chicken Little pox

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Problems with antivirus updates from Trend Micro left some users with unusable computers late last week.

The signature update, pushed out on Friday morning, incorrectly identified key Windows system files as being infected with a Trojan. The security software quarantined these important files leaving users with unstable systems. Trend later fixed the problem by issuing updated signature definition files that avoided the false positive.

For affected users that was far from the end of their worries. They were still left with the hassle of repairing Windows and (perhaps) reinstalling their security software.

Consumers were hardest hit by the glitch, which affected users of Trend Micro Internet Security, Trend Micro Internet Security Pro and Trend Micro AntiVirus. In an advisory to customers forwarded to The Register, Trend Micro said that a small number of consumers were hit by the snag and explained that the faulty update "inaccurately identified certain files as malicious and quarantined them". It admitted that this might cause system instability.

In response to queries from El Reg, prompted by reader emails, Trend Micro issued a statement:

On 5th September 2008 at 02h00 GMT, a false alarm was triggered in Trend Micro Internet Security caused by a new pattern file that had been issued. Specifically the inclusion of pattern Troj_Generic.ADV issued within Official Pattern Release (OPR) version 5.525.50 quarantined several Microsoft Windows DLLs.

In mitigation we removed the detections in question and at 12h15 GMT on 5th September, OPR 5.527.50 was released that resolved this issue. Customers who downloaded OPR 5.525.50 needed only to update to the latest OPR. All other customers who updated thereafter received the latest OPR.

Oh Lordy it's happened again

Anti-virus updates misidentifying legitimate files as suspect are a well known Achilles' Heel of anti-virus scanner software. Issues crop up periodically at roughly the same frequency Premiership football managers and club chairmen fall out.

The results can be just as ugly.

It's hard to think of a security firm that hasn't had problems in this area, and Trend is no exception. The issue gets far more messy, as in the latest Trend Micro case, when system files are incorrectly flagged up as malware.

Reg reader Antonin, based in France, explained the problem in greater depth.

"Trend Micro release a new signature file which decided that explorer.exe and several other system files had a "Troj Gen Adv" and should be quarantine. After the cleanup, a reboot was advised and after the reboot, chaos started," Antonin explained.

"Logon was OK but there was no taskbar, Trend Micro and several other application would not load automatically, Excel and Word and any other application would start but after clicking [I received] several error messages, services menu was corrupted and windows was very unstable. Restore would not work and install/uninstall would not neither," he added.

Antonin was eventually advised by Trend Micro to repair Windows before uninstall and reinstalling Trend Micro.

The net security firm is continuing to investigate the issue. "To date Trend Micro UK have received thirty-five calls to our technical support teams in relation to this issue and TrendLabs is investigating the incident further to determine root cause and remediate," said Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Reddit users discover iOS malware threat
'Unflod Baby Panda' looks to snatch Apple IDs
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.