Security Bytes

Apr 21 2010   10:18PM GMT

Faulty McAfee update hits Windows XP machines

Marcia Savage Marcia Savage Profile: Marcia Savage

A flawed McAfee antivirus update caused Windows XP computers to lose network access and continuously reboot Wednesday.

The faulty update caused widespread problems for organizations across the country, including law enforcement in Kentucky and emergency rooms in Rhode Island, according to numerous reports.

In an email statement, McAfee said the the problem was a with a virus definition file that was released at 6 a.m. Pacific Time Wednesday.  “Our initial investigation indicates that the error can result in moderate to significant issues on systems running XP Service Pack 3,” the company said.
SANS Internet Storm Center reported that systems affected by the faulty McAfee DAT file version 5958 enter a reboot loop and lose network access. McAfee has published technical details about the problem and workarounds.

McAfee said it was working to support customers impacted by the defective update, and released an updated virus definition file within hours. “We are investigating how the incorrect detection made it into our DAT files and will take measures to prevent this from reoccurring. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our customers,” the company said.

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