Feeds

Rogue CA update bricks Win XP systems

Sky not really falling

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.