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WinPatrol blames McAfee for lost business

'False alarm scared off customers'

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Security software firm WinPatrol has criticised McAfee for a tardy response to a false positive problem that it claims might have lost it business.

McAfee wrongly identified the set-up program of a new version of WinPatrol's system monitoring software as malign from around 2 October. WinPatrol complained but McAfee said its early tests were "inconclusive".

So instead of quickly entering the software onto a white-list, McAfee was obliged to send the application to its lab in India for further analysis.

Meanwhile users who downloaded WinPatrol version 19 and happened to also use McAfee were falsely warned the application harboured the dangerous Artemis Trojan, a mistake not made by other security scanner software packages. Instead of waiting on McAfee, WinPatrol developer Bill Pytlovany incorporated a new installer package that wasn't classified as malign.

On Sunday, more than a week after the problem first cropped up, McAfee cleared the original version of WinPatrol and added the application to its whitelist of known "good" files.

False positives involving security scanner signature updates are an industry-wide problem. Although the WinPatrol and McAfee combo in this case would be mostly confined to a minority of consumers, and not businesses, the failure of McAfee to sort out the mess in a couple of days reflects badly on the Intel acquisition target.

WinPatrol's Pytlovany remains unimpressed, as you can see from his blog post on the whole sorry business here.

The latest version of WinPatrol's software contains an update to incorporate cloud-based detection of potential threats. The software offers system monitoring and host-based intrusion prevention features.

The basic version of WinPatrol is available without cost to consumers, with a paid-for premium version offering improvements such as faster scans and Windows registry untangling and error correction. ®

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