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Avira owns up to BitDefender Trojan false alarm

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Updated German security firm Avira has admitted it falsely warned that a beta version of an upcoming security package from its Romanian rival was contaminated with a Trojan.

Few users outside the testing community would be running Avira and BitDefender 2011 beta 4 at the same time, so the incident is notable only as providing an illustration of how easy it is for security suites to trigger false positives.

News of the false alarm was broken on a Romanian language blog (here) and later confirmed by both firms involved.

"Avira mistakenly reported that the BitDefender 2011 product, that hasn't been publicly released yet, was a Trojan. We spotted this on August 10th and provided an automatic fix in the same day.” said Sorin Mustaca, manager of international software development at Avira.

Avira later explained, via a revised statement, that BitDefender's beta had "suspicious properties" that set off warning bells.

Some components in the installer were modified so that the digital certificates became invalid. That's why it became suspicious. Installers "drop" components and start them; additionally the other suspicious properties were found so that a detection got triggered.

Vitor Souza, global communications director at BitDefender, said, “This is an issue with [Avira's] detection, and not a problem with BitDefender itself. Further, we should make you aware that this problem only affects the Beta 4 version of our product and not subsequent versions.” ®

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