Feeds

Avast alert finds WHOLE WEB malign

Evil is everywhere!

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Major freebie anti-virus scanner Avast has apologised for a cock-up defining the vast majority of the web as malign.

Rather than a Howard Beale-style insight into the state of the modern interwebs, the finding of any sites with scripts or frames - including Avast's own support forums - as malign was the result of a rogue virus definition update.

The Czech Republic-based firm quickly realised its mistake, and released a revised definition file within a hour of discovering the problem on Tuesday morning.

In an advisory, Avast said sorry for the snafu.

Virus definition update 110411-1 contained an error that resulted in a good number of innocent sites being flagged as infected. Generally, all sites with a script in a specific format were affected.

The problem is simple enough to resolve by simply manually updating definition files. Faulty definition updates are a well known shortcoming of security software suites.

Such screw-ups often result in the quarantine of benign files, bricking systems if the falsely flagged files happen to be system files. No local files were quarantined in the Avast case.

Anti-virus definition updates are routinely tested prior to release. In the Avast case this seems to have been done on a machine without internet access, hence the failure to detect a glaringly obvious problem.

An estimated 130 million users worldwide use Avast's software. The firm, like AVG and Avira, offers basic anti-virus scanner software free to consumers while making money selling security suites with added features and scanners to companies, mostly targeting small businesses. ®

Bootnote

A big thank you to the Reg reader who had to go through the rigmarole of adding an exception to Avast's misfiring software before he was able to pass on this tip.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.