Feeds

Eset false alarm puts system files on remand

Kryptik cock-up

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.