On Tuesday, a software company confirmed that its antivirus shut down a high number of computers globally after it wrongly identified main parts of Microsoft Windows as a threat. The antivirus is used worldwide by millions of home users and tens of thousands of businesses.
An unfortunate update:
Webroot Inc. located in Broomfield, Colorado, stated that they updated the software’s detection rule on Monday afternoon, which “identified false positives” for important operating files of Windows. The result was that these files got “quarantined” and became inaccessible to Windows.
Spokeswoman for Webroot, Kristin Miller, said that the program categorized incorrectly a folder that is commonly targeted by malware as “bad”. She added that the false positives are being fixed, users should connect to the internet and leave the program on to receive the fix.
She said: “Webroot was not breached. Actual malicious files are being identified and blocked as normal.”
Webroot, which reportedly served around 30 million customers last year, said that the new rule was circulated and applied worldwide for around 13 minutes, which was long enough for customers to discover that their files are unavailable and have that red “blocked” screen pop up on their computers.
The company added that its systems became “overloaded” due to a huge number of customers’ requests to repair the affected files from their cloud servers, which made matters even worse.
The glitch first appeared when customers complained that the anti-virus mistakenly labeled Facebook.com as an identity-fishing website.
One user tweeted: “@Webroot I’d love to connect with you on facebook (actually no I wouldn’t) but it won’t let me – sorry. LOL LOL”
Several of Webroot’s customers, which include several MSPs, ie managed service providers who manage security for several of their own clients went on to social media to complain.
One user tweeted: “@webroot works really well by protecting your viruses from applications. Yesterday I was protected from using 13 legitimate programs.thanks!”
While another wrote: “@Webroot any updates? We have hotel using this antivirus and are at stand still as the application to check in check out – ALL STANDSTILL”