McAfee update bricks thousands of enterprise computers

By on April 21, 2010, 5:28 PM
Earlier today, McAfee unleashed one doozy of an update for its popular antivirus software that crippled an untold number of Windows computers (tens of thousands for sure, potentially hundreds of thousands). The update, virus definition 5958, was pushed out at 06:00 PDT and caused a false positive detection of the critical Windows system file svchost.exe.

The botched update led systems running Windows XP SP3 to detect svchost.exe as the virus W32/wecorl.a. Users say this caused systems to display a BSOD before being caught in an endless cycle of reboots. Windows 7 and Vista computers were unaffected, and the update was mostly limited to corporate machines, meaning that most consumers are in the clear.

The company responded by pulling the tainted update from its distribution network and a clean version, 5959, was released around 10:15 PDT. Complicating McAfee's day, because of the overwhelming impact of 5958, the company's forum was knocked offline, blocking affected customers from sharing information. McAfee has since posted several possible workarounds.




User Comments: 15

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I swear those mainstream virus protectors like McAffee and Norton are worse than what they prevent. I haven't used them in years because of the issues they bring up with regular PC operation.

princeton princeton said:

Your shipment of fail has arrived(overused meme FTW) I mean why test it on XP,vista and 7 before releasing it. That would just be dumb eh?

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

TomSEA said:

I swear those mainstream virus protectors like McAffee and Norton are worse than what they prevent. I haven't used them in years because of the issues they bring up with regular PC operation.

I find Norton is a lot better than it used to be but yeah it was pretty bad in 2004/2005. Haven't used McAffee since windows 95.

princeton princeton said:

But its still a bloatware that will eat you alive. I forget where but in 2009 it was the program that slowed a pc more than any other. I'll try to find it.

Guest said:

Seriously, this is not the first of their updates that has screwed up systems. I think they should do some major tests on their systems first before at least pushing down their new definitions to users. Talk about confidence... sheeesh.. o_O

Guest said:

I have the Internet Suite version for my home PC. The knowledgebase ID KB68780 did not solve my problem. When I tried to post the new virus DAT update the app said that I did not have a "qualified product" installed. I ended renaming the virus definition files located in Program Files\McAfee\VirusScan\DAT\... folder. Then copying the SVCHOST file to the c:\windows\system32 directory and then restarted the computer. That seemed to do the trick. The current Mcafee update is OK.

DCC

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Thanks for sharing, Guest.

JudaZ said:

Tekkaraiden said:

TomSEA said:

I swear those mainstream virus protectors like McAffee and Norton are worse than what they prevent. I haven't used them in years because of the issues they bring up with regular PC operation.

I find Norton is a lot better than it used to be but yeah it was pretty bad in 2004/2005. Haven't used McAffee since windows 95.

Really??

Last time nortons products actually worked resonably was 2003 in my opinion.

Just gotten bigger and bigger and slower and slower and finds nothing anymore.

good its corperations that gets hit though, should be up pretty quickly, just backup the data that is stored locally, (or have a policy that its not allowed so nothing to save, its in the "local cloud" ) then ghost back the main installation of the client OS and 30min you are back

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

ouch. Glad i switched to Microsoft Security Essentials :-)

Eddie_42 Eddie_42 said:

AVG FTW

I cringe every time I see Norton or McAffee on a PC

Badfinger said:

Big lawsuit, that could put them out of their misery?

I use avast!'s full internet suite, been great so far, I had to switch when the one I was using, let a nasty virus through, I had to scan kill over 700 .exe/.dll files, which was a disaster for a while.

It wasn't McAfee though, so never be complacent, always backup critical PC files (to you) frequently.

Norton was a known resource piggy 15 years ago, they never fixed that? Ridiculous!

Renrew Renrew said:

Beyond me why anyone would pay for Mc Affee or Norton. They are worse than most free Virus programs.

Guest said:

Kaspersky FTW!!!

mailpup mailpup said:

Add this to their poor business practice of unauthorized charges to credit cards for unauthorized renewals and you wonder how they stay in business. While I had McAfee several years ago and did not have a particular problem with them, that is not the experience some others have had evidently. Search for mcafee unauthorized charges and see some of the complaints.

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