Thursday, April 22, 2010

Buggy McAfee update whacks Windows XP PCs

McAfee is the latest AntiVirus vendor to cause more damage than good.
A flawed McAfee antivirus update sent enterprise administrators scrambling today as the new signatures quarantined a crucial Windows system file, crippling an unknown number of Windows XP computers, according to messages on the security vendor’s support forum. More
Not only did it wack windows XP PCs, it hurt multiple healthcare organizations that had automatic signature updating enabled.
The damage was widespread: the University of Michigan’s medical school reported that 8,000 of its 25,000 computers crashed. Police in Lexington, Ky., resorted to hand-writing reports and turned off their patrol car terminals as a precaution. Some jails canceled visitation, and Rhode Island hospitals turned away non-trauma patients at emergency rooms and postponed some elective surgeries. More
In this case there is no evidence that this caused any problems that resulted in patient safety concerns, but clearly a hospital that needs to turn anyone away is not a good thing. There has been great concern in the Medical-Device industry around AntiVirus mandates. As usual the Medical-Device industry position wants to be careful to weigh all the risks involved and points to various other times when AntiVirus has caused damage or delay.
There is also the humorous
XKCD Comic — Diebold blames customers for applying antivirus…  XKCD Comic