McAfee splats bug that knocked punters offline
The internet? Oh no, far too dangerous for you to go alone
Antivirus maker McAfee has fixed a problem that cut off punters' internet connections earlier this week.
The snafu, caused by a dodgy update for the Intel-owned malware whack-a-mole product, also knackered enterprise versions although it didn't send users offline. For both the consumer and business builds, the error was traced back to buggy virus definition files, specifically those numbered 6807 and 6808. Fixing the problem involves applying newer functioning updates.
Among those hit were users of BT's broadband service, which bundles McAfee security technology, prompting the telco to advise customers to reinstall the security software (branded as BT NetProtect Plus) on Monday.
McAfee's corresponding confession is here. As an FAQ on the bug explains, affected customers were either left without a functioning internet connection or unable to perform any actions in the McAfee Security Center console.
"This problem caused me hours of frustration and anguish, and almost cost me a new router," Scott, a Reg reader who gave us a heads-up on the gaffe, said.
McAfee also published a preliminary advisory with workarounds for users of its VirusScan Enterprise 8.8 corporate security software. A more detailed note issued on Wednesday provides a more complete fix for sysadmins to apply.
Misfiring definition updates are a well-known Achilles' Heel of security scanners, akin to punctures in pneumatic tyres, and all vendors experience problems in this area from time to time. ®
More trouble than any virus
Seriously - I've seen more problems caused by McAffee over the years than I've ever seen caused by viruses on non-protected machines - they range from blocking email collected over SSL, dropping random internet traffic (this update isn't the first one to do this) and generally slowing the machine down to a crawl even when they're working 'correctly'.
Ah good glad that one is fixed. I mean, it's only the fourth (or more?) times that McAfee have released an update thats broken a PC. Anyone recall the definition file that required an engine upgrade? If you didn't upgrade the engine the definition file would trash McAfee and cause PC problems.
Or the Engine update that tanked the PC
or the definition update that broke the application
and so on. McAfee are a joke now.
Typo in article:
"Misfiring definition updates are a well-known Achilles' Heel of McAfee, akin to having your tyres slashed by the local Kwik Fit, and all versions brick your PC from time to time."
There, much better.