Feeds

Rogue CA update bricks Win XP systems

Sky not really falling

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

A rogue security definition update to anti-virus software from CA hobbled Windows systems earlier this week, sparking howls of protests from users.

The update, issued on Wednesday, falsely labeled important Windows system files as potentially malign, dispatching them into quarantine. The action prevents Windows XP systems from booting properly.

A discussion thread on CA's support forum reflects widespread frustration over the problem, echoed in email tips from Reg readers.

"My phones are ringing off the hook as CA Antivirus is quarantining genuine windows files left, right and centre," writes one of our correspondents. "Anyone else ripping their hair out?"

In a statement (below), CA said it issued a revised update on Thursday that resolved the problem.

On July 8, 2009 at 11:00am EST, a CA DAT file release contained improperly formed malware detections that errantly detected clean files from Microsoft Windows Service Pack 3 and from the commercial Cygwin application. Affected files were detected as "Win32\Amalum" variants with extensions such as ZZNRA, ZZOFK, ZZNPB, and ZZNRA.

All files falsely detected as malware by these errant signatures were quarantined and renamed with the following text added to the file name "*.AVB". This prevented the affected files from running as the ".exe" file. It's important to note that the affected files remain fully intact, only the file extensions were modified.

On July 9, 2009 at 3:30am EST the file was corrected and released.

False positives involving anti-virus scanners are an industry-wide problem. Users are worst affected when, as in the current case with CA, core system files (rather than simply the components of regular applications) are labeled as potentially malign. Solving the problem involves rolling back to previous definition or issuing new updates that avoid Chicken Little-style false alarms. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
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
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.