BitDefender update wipes Windows

March 22, 2010 // 10:05 a.m.

Tags: #antivirus #anti-virus #bitdefender #bitdefender-system-files #system-files #trojan #trojan-horse #virus #vx #vxer #windows

Users of BitDefender's anti-virus offering were left rather more secure than they would perhaps have liked after a flawed update was release causing the software to quarantine both itself and important Windows system files.

As reported over on ITworld, the update caused heartache for users of 64-bit editions of Windows by incorrectly assessing vital systems files as being examples of Trojan.FakeAlert.5 - causing the system to crash and fail to reboot.

Ironically, among the files detected as Trojans by BitDefender are files used by the software itself - meaning that the update can even cause BitDefender to stop working.

Unfortunately for those who chose to delete or quarantine the 'infected' files, it left their systems unable to boot - as several BitDefender users have bemoaned on the company's forums. Users who haven't rebooted are advised to restore the files from quarantine before doing so; users who are left with an unusable system are asked to try running Windows' System Restore feature or the Last Known Good Configuration boot option.

This kind of issue isn't restricted to a single vendor, of course - instead, all signature-based anti-virus applications are vulnerable to an improperly tested update going haywire. Software from vendors including Computer Associates and Grisoft have also resulted in users being unable to reboot their systems in the past.

For those BitDefender users who have not yet been bitten by the bug, the latest update corrects the signatures and prevents the misdetection.

Are you amazed that anti-virus companies can continue to release updates which cause such problems for their users, or is it simply impossible to perform enough testing on something as complicated as virus signatures to guarantee they won't trigger prematurely? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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