Feeds

Bonkers MS security update flags Google.com as malign

Don't be evil silly

Seven Steps to Software Security

A dodgy update to Microsoft's anti-virus software on Tuesday meant users of the software were wrongly warned that Google's homepage was infected with the infamous Blackhole Exploit Kit.

Users of Microsoft's Forefront corporate security products (here) and freebie Security Essentials scanner software (here) were both affected by the snafu. Following the false positive update, surfers who visited Google.com were falsely warned* that it had been contaminated with a "severe" threat – specifically Exploit:JS/Blacole.BW.

Taken at face value, the warning implied that users visiting the site were being hit with scripts that attempted to use browser exploits and the like to push malware onto vulnerable PCs. Microsoft's Technet support forums soon filled up with notes and queries over the alarming warning, which turned out to be entirely bogus. Microsoft published updated definition files that avoided the false positive within four hours of the first report of the glitch.

False alarms involving anti-virus software affect all vendors from time to time. Such problems, as is the case with Microsoft's misfiring Valentine's Day update, normally only cause minor inconvenience and confusion. False positives only really become a serious problem when system files are incorrectly classified as malign, leaving users with unstable – and in some cases unbootable – Windows boxes. ®

Bootnote

*IE users were hit by the false positive as soon as they visited Google.com. Firefox fans were only warned when they initiated a search, according to posts on Microsoft's Technet support forum. There have been no reports of alerts for Windows users using either Google Chrome or Opera.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
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
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.