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CA auto-immune update trashes systems

eTrust security software quarantines self, MS apps

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Updated A beserker update to CA eTrust anti-virus software created all sorts of confusion on Wednesday.

The 33.3.7051 update labeled a large number of binaries (.DLL and .exe files) - including some components of eTrust itself - as infected with something called StdWin32. These files were sent off to quarantine, resulting in disabled systems that may be far from easy to recover.

Users are strongly advised to block the update. Temporarily disabling on-access scanning, normally a bad idea, might also be worth considering.

Several Register readers have informed us of the problem. "CA have got it so wrong with this update that the Anti-Virus is even renaming core elements of its own program directory, to be honest E-Trust could be deemed a virus in itself," one correspondent notes.

Terry, another Reg reader, reports: "Had an interesting morning cleaning up after a signature update caused CA's eTrust ITM to detect components of MS Visual Studio and Incredibuild as being infected with ''. This seems a bit beyond the usual false positives AV firms sometimes throw out. So far I've had 962 detections of, um, nothing at all and 18 of 'StdWin32'."

Security blog Dynamoo reports that an updated definition 34.0.6674 fixes the problem but this remained unconfirmed at the time of writing.

CA issue a statement on Wednesday evening explaining that the glitch was due to an engine overhaul that had obviously gone wrong, It said that it has developed a remediation tool.

Last night, CA released a new updated antimalware engine. This new release has resulted in false positive detections of a number of files. CA Threat Manager customers are the only customers being affected by this issue. This is not a result of signature updates and does not impact CA consumer Internet security products.

To resolve the issue, CA has rolled back the new engine and re-released its previous antimalware engine. CA customer support representatives are on call to answer customer questions and to provide remediation support. A remediation tool to rename the quarantined files is now available through CA support and will soon be accessible online.

CA is aggressively working to resolve the issue, assist any customers who have been affected, as well as identify the root cause of the incident. We apologize for this inconvenience and look forward to the roll out of our new antimalware engine, which will ultimately offer our customers many benefits including enhanced malware protection and improved performance.

The systems management firm had problems with another eTrust update only last month. The dodgy update falsely tagged important Windows system files as potentially malign before dispatching them into quarantine. ®

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