Feeds

F-Secure Mac security scanner bug bins benign files

Whoops! Hope that wasn't a system file

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

F-Secure has apologised about a bug in its consumer-focused Mac security software that left surfers fighting against their own browsers as clean files were wrongly classified as malign.

A faulty definition in the beta version of F-Secure Mac Protection meant that the software had been wrongly identifying some benign files as being contaminated with malware. As a result some clean files were consigned to the trash bin.

The Finnish security firm responded promptly within hours of the discovery of the problem on Monday by withdrawing the mis-firing definition update and publishing a revised list. It also released a tool that restored files back to their original locations.

Users would not have been too badly inconvenienced providing they avoided emptying their trash during the period when the incorrect updates were applied. Discussion on F-Secure's support forum suggested the problem manifested itself as a battle between users' miscuing security software and their browsers that resulted in browser crashes and more multiple alerts as benign script and download elements were binned.

F-Secure has apologised for the problem, which only affected users of its Mac security software. Windows- and Linux-based users of anti-virus packages from F-Secure were unaffected by the problem.

Such false alert problems are all too common to Windows users. Difficulties in these cases hit hardest in cases where security software classifies system files as malign. Stripped of these vital files, systems become unstable.

Vendors try hard to screen against the release of problematic updates but the huge volume of Windows malware spewed out every day makes this process increasingly difficult. Even though similar strains of malware can be pegged with generic detection signatures, updates are still a big part of the mix and a huge ramp-up in Trojan creation inevitably means more frequent updates.

Developers of security software for Macs aren't stuck with this problem, so it's a slight concern that F-Secure's pre-release testing in the case failed to pick up potential problems, even though its handling of the problem once it manifested itself was open and praiseworthy. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.