Feeds

Rogue CA update bricks Win XP systems

Sky not really falling

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Shellshock over SMTP attacks mean you can now ignore your email
'But boss, the Internet Storm Centre says it's dangerous for me to reply to you'
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.