Skip to main content

McAfee baffled by own viral gaffe

Insecurity specialist McAfee is still scratching its head trying to figure out how its software managed to bork hundreds of PCs owned by its customers.

Systems running Windows XP Service Pack 3 went apeshit bananas, crashing and rebooting repeatedly after McAfee pumped out a dodgy virus definition yesterday morning

The update quarantined the important Windows process svchost.exe, rendering afflicted PCs useless

McAfee claims that less than half a per cent of its corporate customers were hit by the cock-up, but it still can't say for sure what caused it.

"We're investigating how it was possible some customers were impacted and some not," Joris Evers, a McAfee spokesman messaged to IDG.

Users of VirusScan 8.7 running the "Scan Processes on Enable" routine were affected by the dodgy update. The gaffe brought some organisations to a stand-still, including a 911 emergency service in Iowa. Even mighty Intel reported that "quite a few" of its own laptops and PCs were affected.

You have to giggle at McAfee's support veep, Barry McPherson's note posted on the company bog last night. "In the past 24 hours, McAfee identified a new threat that impacts Windows PCs," McPherson wrote.

And now we know: that threat is McAfee itself.

McPherson later posted a second note saying he had "talked to literally hundreds of my colleagues around the world and emailed thousands to try and find the best way to correct these issues."

"Let me say this has not been my favorite (sic) day. Not for me, or for McAfee. Not by a long shot."

We're sure those hit by the cock-up and indeed paying for the privilege feel really sorry for you Barry.

As one comment on the blog puts it: "Serious?! Why not just admit the f’up and say you’re sorry? You jacked up untold hundreds of thousands if not million of computers. That sucked. At least man up! Oh yeah, there’s that little guy wearing the power stripe from legal standing over shoulder telling you how much little culpabililty you have in all this. Jeez!"