Feeds

Eset false alarm puts system files on remand

Kryptik cock-up

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Slovakian anti-virus firm Eset has confirmed that a misfiring virus definition update wrongly labelled Windows system files as infected with malware.

As a result of the dodgy definition key files were identified as a virus and shuffled off into quarantine. Eset said it spotted the problem within minutes and released a new update that was free of the glitch, along with advice on how to unbork affected systems.

The firm estimates that less than one in 20 users were affected. It apologised for the snafu in a statement which explains that mistakes in virus definition and generic detection (heuristic) updates contributed to the problem.

On Monday March 9th 2009 at 5:52 CET, ESET released an update of our heuristics v.1091 together with standard virus definition update no. 3918. An error in the heuristics caused a malfunction in the Windows operating system by false identification of several system files including dllhost.exe, and msdtc.exe, which were catalogued as Win32/Kryptik.JX.

The update downloads were stopped within 10 minutes of the update release, and the update was reverted to its previous version. Thanks to this immediate reaction, less than 5 per cent of our users were affected.

False alerts involving anti-virus scanners are a well-known Achilles Heel which affects all vendors from time to time. The issue is more severe when system files are miscategorised as malware, as in this case, but Eset deserves credit for responding promptly to the issue.

Eset has published advisories explaining how affected users can pull files out of quarantine and restore systems here and here. "A new special update containing automatic release of the false positives from quarantine will be released within a few hours," it added.

In response to the incident, Eset said it was working on a standalone tool to manage quarantined files more efficiently in large installations. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.