Feeds

Sophos says sorry over Google Analytics false alarm

No harm done

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
Canadian taxman says hundreds pierced by Heartbleed SSL skewer
900 social insurance numbers nicked, says revenue watchman
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.