Microsoft labels Google's Gmail as virus

When OneCare users visited the Gmail site they were informed their systems were infected with the virus

Microsoft's fledgling consumer anti-virus service, Windows Live OneCare, wrongly identified Google's Gmail service as a virus infection last week, Microsoft has admitted.

The false positive began late last week when Google made changes to the Gmail website, Microsoft claimed, but didn't give details as to exactly what the changes were or why they had caused the problem. The result was that when OneCare users visited the Gmail site they were informed their systems were infected with the virus BAT/BWG.A.

"Windows Live OneCare customers may have recently experienced an issue that incorrectly flagged files related to Google's Gmail service as a virus," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "This was a limited false positive issue with our anti-virus protection."

Microsoft apologized for the mistake and said it was reviewing its processes to keep similar problems from recurring. The problem began late last week and was fixed by a signature update on Sunday, Microsoft said.

For some of those affected, the false positive turned into a serious headache involving lost data and hours of wasted time with Microsoft tech support, according to Gmail and Microsoft user forums.

The experience of a user called Jim was typical, with several hours of telephone calls and Remote Desktop tech support. "He gave up after an hour and told me it was in my Gmail so I had to delete everything, trash, sent, archived, etc. and then use Stinger. I mistakenly followed his advice. Two years of carefully saved stuff is gone," he wrote.

"I restarted, went into my empty Gmail account with nothing in there, and a WLOC message popped up telling me of a BAT/BMG A virus."

Microsoft is not the only one to suffer from false positives, which occur regularly in anti-virus programs. Earlier this year a McAfee signature update falsely identified components of Microsoft Office as a virus, and Microsoft's anti-spyware software said a Symantec security program was a Trojan.

During testing, OneCare -- released commercially in May -- disabled a security program called Computrace LoJack.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?