Feeds

McAfee downplays service pack fail

Virus update leaves PCs unbootable

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A recent McAfee service pack led to systems being rendered unbootable, according to posts on the security giant's support forums.

The mandatory service pack for McAfee's corporate Virus scanning product, VSE 8.7, was designed to address minor security bugs but instead tagged windows system files as malware. The software update was issued on 27 May and pulled on 2 June, after problems occurred. Users were advised to keep the patch if they'd already installed it in a low-key announcement on McAfee's knowledge base.

Posts on McAfee's support forum paint a different picture of PCs and server left unbootable after the update had automatically deleted Windows systems files wrongly identified as potentially malign. Our source among the McAfee user community, who asked not to be named, described the incident as a "massive fail" by McAfee and reports that sysadmins are angry that a long awaited patch turned out to do more harm than good.

In a statement, McAfee acknowledged potential problems but said that these were rare. It said it planned to reissue the service pack once glitches with the software were ironed out.

McAfee removed Patch 1 for McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.7i from its download servers out of precaution after a potential issue with the update was discovered. A very small number of customers reported trouble with the patch on a limited number of computers.

Once the cause of the problem has been identified and the issue has been resolved, we will repost Patch 1. Customers should contact McAfee support if they have any questions regarding this issue, and check the McAfee ServicePortal for further updates.

Problems with anti-virus scanner definition updates that result in false alarms against harmless files are a well known Achilles' heel of security software. The issue causes more trouble in cases where system files are flagged as potentially malign. The problems with McAfee's enterprise security software are arguably even worse than that because they involve a service pack and not just regular definition updates.

McAfee users have every right to ask tough questions about the security giant's quality assurance and testing regime even if, as McAfee states, only a small percentage of users ran into problems. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
US government fines Intel's Wind River over crypto exports
New emphasis on encryption as a weapon?
To Russia With Love: Snowden's pole-dancer girlfriend is living with him in Moscow
While the NSA is tapping your PC, he's tapping ... nevermind
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Put down that shotgun: Wi-Fi's the way to beat Zombies
CreepyDOL sensors can pick walkers from humans with MAC snack attack
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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.