False-Positive Problem of McAfee Software Disrupts Computers

McAfee said it has recently fixed a problem disturbing its security program which led to the collapse of computers worldwide during the 1st week of July 2009, as reported by eweek on July 6, 2009.

On July 3, 2009, users of McAfee running earlier editions of its VirusScan engine discovered that when they downloaded a DAT file online, they encountered false positives labeling authentic software as malware. Consequently, authorized software became quarantined, and in certain instances, the notorious BSOD (blue-screen-of-death) became visible. The BSOD phenomenon happens when a computer exhibits a non-essential error generally because a glitch occurs in its operating system.

When an IT Consultant of McAfee remembered a personal experience, he said that virtually 50% of the systems had crashed down after the appearance of the McAfee anti-virus pop-up marking valid applications as containing a Trojan, as reported by TheRegister on July 6, 2009.

Adding further, the consultant said that he felt relief when he found his own laptop, also running VirusScan, functioning normally. However, when he loaded the new McAfee DAT file, the system showed the same problem. The anti-virus application was detected as winvnc.exe and a few other authorized files were marked as malicious programs.

Moreover, drivers required for Compaq PCs, files from Microsoft's IE and even McScript.exe associated with McAfee all were randomly detected as Trojan 'PWS!hv.aq', according to interviews and posts from affected users.

Thus, McAfee says that with the new computer threat involving bogus messages about malware on systems, there could be chaos among computer users.

A McAfee spokesperson said that numerous customers of the company were ignorant about the glitch that didn't allow certain software to function and it also slowed down the service. However, majority of users could still work, as reported by eweek on July 6, 2009.

Additionally, the security vendor has recorded within its KnowledgeBase all the facts about the problem and offered probable solutions to affected users. Nonetheless, it states that the damaged systems could be repaired only manually since it would not be easy to restore the quarantined files to their actual positions.

Related article: Flaws Detected in Yahoo Music Jukebox

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