Feeds

Symantec update killed biz PCs in three-way software prang

Encryption, cache and antivirus in head-on crash

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Symantec has apologised after an update to its security software sparked repeated crashes on enterprise Windows XP machines.

The antivirus giant withdrew the misfiring definition update, issued on 11 July, hours after problems first appeared, releasing a revised update the next day. No new issues have been reported since this signature rollback was applied.

Subsequent analysis has revealed that a three-way clash between third-party encryption drivers, Symantec's own security software and the Windows XP Cache manager resulted in the infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) on vulnerable machines, as this advisory explains:

The root cause of the issue was an incompatibility due to a three-way interaction between some third-party software that implements a file system driver using kernel stack based file objects – typical of encryption drivers, the SONAR signature and the Windows XP Cache manager.  The SONAR signature update caused new file operations that create the conflict and led to the system crash.

The glitch is specific to the Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition (SEP SBE) 12.1, Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) 12.1 and Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud (SEP.cloud). Corporate users of other version of Symantec’s Enterprise security products weren't affected - nor were ordinary punters.

Symantec is reviewing its quality-assurance process to improve compatibility testing, a move it hopes will safeguard against similar snafus in future.

Bugs involving antivirus signature updates crop up from time to time regardless of the vendor. Even though testing processes are improving, the sheer volume of updates software makers are obliged to push out means that testing isn't exhaustive as one might hope, and problems are almost certain to occur.

Release managers can only make sure these cock-ups happen as infrequently as possible rather than expending huge amounts of effort trying to prevent them entirely. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Shellshock over SMTP attacks mean you can now ignore your email
'But boss, the Internet Storm Centre says it's dangerous for me to reply to you'
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.