Feeds

F-Secure Mac security scanner bug bins benign files

Whoops! Hope that wasn't a system file

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.