McAfee to cough up over bricked PCs

Insecurity outfit McAfee has promised to cover 'reasonable expenses' after a dodgy anti-virus update turned some customers' Windows PCs into little more than ugly desk ornaments.

“If you have already incurred costs to repair your PC as a result of this issue, we’re committed to reimbursing reasonable expenses,” the company said on its web site.

Severely affected customers will also get a two-year extension to their McAfee subscriptions, gratis.

The offer will come as small comfort to some of the thousands of customers who experienced expensive and crippling outages last week.

A faulty DAT file, automatically sent out to McAfee installations, apparently started quarantining a vital Windows component as malware, rendering some PCs unusable.

McAfee CEO David DeWalt apologised to customers in a blog post on Friday, resulting in a wave of angry comments from affected users.

Some IT managers reported having to turn off their entire networks as a precaution after the first PCs started failing. Others said they had to fight for their jobs after computers went down.

Failures at hospitals and emergency services operators were also reported.

McAfee said it will post details of how to claim compensation in the next few days.