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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Old News
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.

Reply Score: 3

which is worse: virus once or antivirus daily??
by Rugxulo on Fri 23rd Apr 2010 18:28 in reply to "Old News"
Rugxulo Member since:
2007-10-09

Virus scanners are notorious for false positives.
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.


Indeed, it's very annoying to compile a program just to be told what a virus it is. (How? I wrote it!) Blame bad heuristics and overzealous AV dudes. Worse is that antivirus slows everything down badly, moreso on "old" single-core P4s. It's unbearably slow, you can't even hardly use the computer while it's running! Also, it's just not sensible to rescan the entire HD every single day, esp. when a big chunk is archives of old service packs or non-executable files, etc. Gah, so frustrating!

But malware attacks have been very strong and frequent lately, and I've noticed XP seems to be a common target. It's sad, really, that some people find it fun to hurt others for profit. :-(

Reply Parent Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

In the days when it was about fun the tricks tended to be humorous rather than harmful. malware is big business today though and the profit motivation is far more enticing to organized crime. It's not about deriving fun but deriving profits. There are some incredible geniuses working on the criminal side and rivaled only by the incredible geniuses working the defense side.

Reply Parent Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


But malware attacks have been very strong and frequent lately, and I've noticed XP seems to be a common target. It's sad, really, that some people find it fun to hurt others for profit. :-(


I've heard more cases recently of XP users being hit with malicious code through Myspace/Facebook. Hackers don't even have to look for new exploits when there are plenty of people surfing social networking sites that have updates turned off.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alan.L.Graham Member since:
2008-01-10

I find nearly all antivirus programs do more harm than good. The ones that cost money are huge, bloated, useless junk.

The world's best Windows antivirus program is free from Microsoft, you can download from www.microsoft.com/security_essentials.
Security Essentials (SE) is a small (yes a Microsoft program that is small!) and as close to perfect as any antivirus program I have seen. Gee, why don't they make this a standard part of Windows 7 rather than a hidden free program that you have to find and install? Well, I would guess they don't want to hurt the big-buck anti-virus businesses like McAfee and Symantec. Wake up and use the small simple fast Microsoft Windows Antivirus that works. Forget all of the others. As a double check, I run Malwarebytes over night to see if Microsoft missed anything.

Remember the ONLY way to fix any Windows problem: reinstall Windows, Microsoft Security Essentials, free registry utility apps from download.com, and all of your apps. Next time you reinstall make sure you partition your HDD into 2 partition C: for Windows and apps and D: for your files. Then next time you need to reinstall, quick format the C: drive and reinstall. All of your files are intact on the D: drive. No need to recover them from backup.

Every computer maker delivers to you one big whopping drive where you store your files together with the world's most popular computer virus ... Microsoft Windows. STUPID!

Store all of your stuff on the new D: drive and backup those files to your flash drive, NAS drive, and online. Microsoft gives you 25 GB for free on Skydrive. Just Google for "free online backup" and you see a lot.
I like humyo.com. Semi-easy to use and lots of free online disk space before they charge you.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a black net box that does all of this geek stuff for you automatically? My new start-up BlackNetBox.com (no website yet) will make a beautiful cube 3-node network computer that does everything for you (backup, virus protection, defrag, registry fixing, updates, testing, reinstalls, etc) behind the scenes silently so you always have a 3 perfect PCs working together for you. It automatically recovers from both software and hardware crashes. Hey, maybe I should call it a Mac. ;-) No, I call it the XCUBE. Stay tuned.

Reply Parent Score: 2