Buggy McAfee Antivirus Update Cripples Windows XP PCs

mcafee antivirus update glitchNo answers have been made in response to a buggy update which was an issue for some McAfee Antivirus corporate users on Wednesday that disabled hundreds of thousands of computers.

It has been said by McAfee that only a small fraction of their corporate customers, less than 0.5%, were affected by the recent glitch. The glitch was from a bad virus definition update that shipped out Wednesday which caused some Windows XP Service Pack 3 systems to repeatedly reboot and crash. The root cause was the definition update somehow causing a quarantine of svchost.exe which is a critical Windows process. In some cases, malware or virus parasites are specifically designed to attack or mimic the svchost.exe file.

After reports started reporting on the issue, McAfee could not say what exactly caused the issue. Joris Evers, a McAfee spokesman, said that "We're investigating how it was possible some customers were impacted and some not."

The spectrum of the bad McAfee antivirus definition update reached corporations such as Intel. Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesperson, said that systems at Intel were knocked offline before the bad update was stopped. Other corporations had as many as 40% of their systems affected by the bad update, virtually turning the day into a nightmare, as one engineering services supervisor described it at Washington's Snohomish County. Ken Whittaker, a desktop support technician at a Michigan University, was affected by this issue saying, "This is the worst glitch that I've ever had to deal with."

Many of the computer operators experiencing the issue thought it was a serious computer virus that had stricken their system. The issue had the characteristics of a wide-spread virus outbreak. Little did they know, it was a bad McAfee Antivirus update that caused the problems. McAfee has since posted a support memo in regards to this issue on their website.

This incident may have prompted companies to test their ability in handling a situation where a virus is detected. It would only be wise for companies and even home users to have a contingency plan put in place in the event that their system or systems are stricken with a real virus.

Do you have a contingency plan put in place in the case that your system gets a virus or is hit with malware?

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