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Symantec anti-virus update causes BSOD on Win XP

by Mark Tyson on 16 July 2012, 11:00

Tags: Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC), Windows XP

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabjnv

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Symantec anti-virus updates hobbled a number of PCs late last week; affected customers suffered repeating blue screen of death crashes. A signature update rolled out from 11th July for Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1 and Norton anti-virus software for businesses was found to be the culprit that widely affected Windows XP based machines. Norton Antivirus, consumer version, wasn’t affected by the problem.

The famous anti-virus vendor issued a rollback of malware signatures on Thursday that should help assuage these self-inflicted wounds. However because the faulty update is aimed at business workgroups, of which there are many running Windows XP, several big companies suffered a lot of computer down-time due to Symantec’s incompetence. For business, even more than for individuals, time = money.

How it happened

“The root cause of the issue was an incompatibility due to a three-way interaction between some third-party software that implements a file system driver using kernel stack based file objects – typical of encryption drivers, the SONAR signature and the Windows XP Cache manager.  The SONAR signature update caused new file operations that create the conflict and led to the system crash.” says Symantec in a blog post about the issue. The company says it has learned from these mistakes and it won’t ever happen again.

The casualties

Reuters spoke to a representative of PSO Beheer BV in Holland, this company had 150 computers fail due to the Symantec definitions LiveUpdate. Staff were sent home and a laboratory became unusable. At the time of the Reuters report 300 corporate customers and 60 consumers were known to be affected by the bug.

One customer claims that Symantec has offered compensation for the wasted time and effort required to get machines up and running again. It’s ironic that businesses who pay for this software to keep mission critical business systems running safely and smoothly get stung by it.



HEXUS Forums :: 10 Comments

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Touch wood, not had this issue at my work place…so far.
that's an awful picture to use…
If you install malware such as Norton Anti-virus then what else do you expect?
iranu
If you install malware such as Norton Anti-virus then what else do you expect?
Hmm, if I'd paid for NAV then I think "do no harm" would be high up my list of expectations. :p

Thankfully I've been NAV free both @home and @work for years now, and I even managed to avoid any comment about incredulity of running any business critical systems on XP (mainly because I've got an XP VM myself)
Someone should tell these people to that you can get quality antivirus programs like MS Security Essentials, Avast etc etc for free and that they should just give up and stop taking people's money to ruin their computing experience.

Ok ok so I know there is a market for paid AV and that corporates usually can't access free AV but even so, that these guys charge premium rates and still make huge cock ups like this is appalling.