McAfee Snafu Deletes App Files

Many PC users know the dangers of deleting files that are of an unknown nature. Although these files appear useless, they are often important extensions which allow applications to work properly. For McAfee, a publisher of anti-virus software, this fact has become a literal nightmare as users of their McAfee Anti-Virus program had valid files deleted from their computers. The snafu occurred when users downloaded the daily virus definition file. The update file contained bad code which identified legitimate files as the W95/CTX virus. According to Information Week, files related to Excel, Flash, Java Runtime, and some Adaptec drivers were tagged as malware. But this was only the surface of the iceberg as more than 330 files of valid applications were zapped by McAfee™s anti-virus program. The affected files were automatically deleted or moved to a quarantine file location by the software. However, even if the files were not deleted, the unexpected move of the files caused applications to crash because the original directory for the files was changed. The problems surfaced last Friday and affected users for a span of five hours, until the problem was identified and actions were taken to fix the situation. Users who had their files merely quarantined by the program were in good shape. The fix was a simple move of the errant files back to their original locations. However, those who had the files deleted were in more trouble. The suggested fix was to do a restore (rollback of settings) on the system OS. But not everyone has the restore feature on. One customer of McAfee™s forums summed up many user™s frustrations succinctly by saying, I bet I™m just screwed. Experienced users were probably the least affected, as they understood the limitations and false positives anti-virus programs can exhibit. The big losers were the inexperienced PC users, who, because of their total trust in the anti-virus programs to protect them, were left in the lurch because of the faulty software. What happened? A McAfee employee said, “This was a combination of unusual circumstances. There was one byte off in a signature, and there was a hole in our testing process.” To what extent this problem has affected businesses and private individuals are not yet known, but to those who are acquainted with the grief and heartbreak of broken operating systems, it may be a long and arduous ordeal for the uninitiated. They™ll never look at anti-virus programs in the same way again.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.