Linked by David Adams on Fri 23rd Apr 2010 15:58 UTC
Bugs & Viruses A version of the McAfee antivirus software used in the corporate and public sectors misidentified the svchost.exe file in Windows XP systems as malware, sending the affected machines into a loop of restarts. Only users of McAfee VirusScan Enterprise on Windows XP service pack 3 were affected, but the fallout was pretty severe, with hospital and police systems among those taken down.
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by foldingstock on Fri 23rd Apr 2010 18:13 UTC
foldingstock
Member since:
2008-10-30

Virus scanners are notorious for false positives. It is the drawback to the 'search for what we know is bad' mentality.

I was recently at my university's computer lab working on a C++ program assignment when their Symantec scanner warned me that the program I compiled was malicious. It was a very simple program that computed and drew out a triangle based on three lengths. Nothing complex (under 400kb total) and certainly not a virus. I had named the executable based on the chapter, page, and problem I was working on. Symantec told me this was a trojan downloader and removed the executable.

False positives will always be a problem in the current antivirus market. Personally, I choose not to use antivirus and instead I simply do not install anything that does not come from a trusted source. This solution obviously won't work for everyone, though.

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