McAfee update exterminates Excel

by admin March 11, 2006 at 3:40 pm

For a brief period on Friday, McAfee’s security tools killed more than viruses.

An error in McAfee’s virus definition file released Friday morning caused the company’s consumer and enterprise antivirus products to flag Microsoft’s Excel, as well as other applications on users’ PCs, as a virus called W95/CTX, Joe Telafici, director of operations at McAfee’s Avert labs, told CNET

“At about 1 p.m. PST we started getting reports that people were seeing an unusual number of W95/CTX infections in their environment,” Telafici said. “Files that we did identify would probably be deleted or quarantined, depending on your settings.”

When a file gets quarantined, it’s renamed and moved to a different folder. McAfee’s antivirus software detected Excel.exe and Graph.exe, two Microsoft Office components, as well as other software, including AdobeUpdateManager.exe, an application installed alongside Adobe products that deals with software updates, Telafici said.

About 100 customers, individuals as well as corporations, reported the problem, Telafici said. McAfee, the world’s second largest antivirus software vendor, rushed to fix the mistake. Consumers were automatically reverted to the older definition files at about 2:30 p.m. and an update was pushed to corporate users an hour later, he said.

Full story: CNET