Feeds

Sophos says sorry over Google Analytics false alarm

No harm done

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Updated Sophos has apologised after its security screening technology went awry and began falsely warning users when they visited websites running Google Analytics.

The false positive - which identified web content served up from google-analytics.com as malicious code (specifically HTMLGen-A) - kicked in at around 05:15 GMT and persisted for just under an hour. As a result of the problem corporates users of both security appliances and security software applications from Sophos received false warning about Google's web stats technology.

"We weren't saying that the websites running Google Analytics contained malign or risky code. We mistakenly said that the code on the *Google Analytics* site was malign (albeit when people visited other sites)," a Sophos spokesman explained.

Surfers were warned - but not blocked - as explained in a blog post here. For webmasters, who happened to be Sophos customers, the problem meant that Google Analytics content was blocked, messing up web traffic stats figures.

Sophos rapidly pushed out an update, which ought to apply itself automatically but may take time to propagate around all infected systems. The net security firm also took unspecified steps designed to prevent a repetition of the problem.

"Even though no web browsing or computer operations were disrupted, we still recognise that an erroneous warning message can be disruptive - and we'd like to apologise for that to our customers and our friends at Google," a Sophos spokesman explained. "We pride ourselves on providing a good level of service to our customers and on this occasion we should have done better."

"We're doing a full investigation into what lessons we can learn from this incident, and have already put measures in place to ensure that this can't happen again," he added.

False positives are a well-known Achilles' Heel of security scanning software and even improving testing methodologies have failed to get rid of the problem. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs
BadUSB instructs gadget chips to inject key-presses, redirect net traffic and more
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?