We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Symantec software boots users offline

Follows McAfee's gaffe

A faulty update to Symantec's Norton security software began booting thousands of users off their AOL internet connections last week, Symantec has admitted.

The problem began with a 15 March intrusion-detection signature file sent via LiveUpdate to customers using Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security, according to Symantec. The file caused Norton to mistakenly identify AOL traffic as malicious, in effect blocking internet access for both dialup and broadband customers.

"A Symantec Intrusion Detection signature that was included in the 15 March LiveUpdate caused this problem," said Symantec in an advisory on its website.

Symantec said it released an updated signature file fixing the problem about seven hours after the first file was distributed. However, without a connection, those affected weren't necessarily able to access the fix.

AOL's UK call centres have received around 4,000 calls about the problem, according to a spokesperson.

The solution is relatively simple, according to Symantec - users need to update their Norton software, which should enable them to go online and download the corrected signature file. Detailed instructions are available in the company's advisory, which, sadly, will not be accessible to those affected.

Symantec is in good company with regard to update gaffes. The previous week, McAfee's virus-scanning products wreaked havoc on corporate and consumer systems, after a buggy virus-definition file triggered the quarantine or deletion of a long list of executable files, including Microsoft Excel.

While excel.exe was the most high-profile false positive, the list of wrongly identified files later released by McAfee was seven pages long. Administrators said they expected to spend hours restoring the quarantined files.

This story first appeared on Techworld.com


IDG UK Sites

The best iPhone 6 alternatives: Price and specs compared with the best smartphones

IDG UK Sites

The top 10 Apple products ranked by pixel density: Which Apple devices have the sharpest screens?

IDG UK Sites

SBTRKT's Look Away webcam-based interactive music video won't keep your gaze

IDG UK Sites

Retina MacBook Air release date rumours and specs: Gold 12in Retina MacBook Air almost 1cm thinner...