McAfee Update Brings Headache for Enterprises with Old Software

McAfee customers around the world running old, unsupported versions of its security software fell victim to false positives July 3 that disrupted operations for some. McAfee officials say users running the most current version of McAfee VirusScan Enterprise were not impacted.

McAfee has resolved a glitch affecting its security software that crashed computers around the globe last week.

On July 3, McAfee users running old versions of the VirusScan engine found themselves facing false positives after downloading a DAT file that labeled legitimate programs as malware. According to McAfee support forums, the glitch led to authorized programs being quarantined, and in some cases brought about the infamous "blue screen of death."

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A McAfee spokesperson said the incorrect identification was resolved in the daily release, and stressed that customers running the most current software were not affected. Before it was resolved however, the issue affected users all over the world, judging by comments left in McAfee support forums. One poster relayed that his or her business was forced to temporarily disable anti-virus protection to stop the alerts and determine what was going on.

"We found that the Compaq system drivers had been quarantined, which meant that if the servers were to crash the missing drivers would almost certainly have prevented the servers from coming back up and our user service would be at a standstill," the user wrote in the forum. "With this potentially happening at all sites it would have been chaos. The vast majority of our users were unaware of the problems-some applications didn't work and the service was slow but most users could work."

According to McAfee, customers running Version 5200 or newer were not impacted by the problem. The most current versions are VirusScan Enterprise 8.7 and scanning engine 5301.

"Customers reporting this issue have been confirmed to be running VirusScan Enterprise 7.1 or 8.0i specifically with the 5100 scanning engine, which has not been supported for 18 months," the McAfee spokesperson said.