New McAfee virus update freezes Windows

"It can cause the CPU (central processing unit) utilisation of the machine to go to 100 per cent, effectively freezing the system for an extended period of time," said Simon Leech, an Amsterdam-based security engineer for Network Associates.

The problem occurs when virus definition file 4102, which was released on Nov. 1, is installed on a machine running VirusScan engine version 4.0.02. The scan engine and the definition file are incompatible.

"We update our engine roughly every three months. Unfortunately we have discovered this definition file doesn't work with this engine," Leech said. The current scan engine version is 4.0.70.

When the computer is restarted the incompatibility causes the system to freeze. On servers running Microsoft's Windows NT the administrator can stop the anti-virus service remotely from another machine using the server manager, or use a tool from the resource kit to remotely kill the service, Leech suggested. On desktop computers the user can start Windows in Safe Mode and disable VirusScan.

After getting access to the system the scan engine will have to be updated manually. "Updates of the scan engine are free," said Leech.

"Version 4.0.02 is a more than two year-old version of our engine. We generally do not test new definition files with engines over two years old," Leech said to explain the cause of the problems. "With all the hype around viruses lately we were hoping our customers would have already updated their scan engines."

Leech couldn't say how many customers were affected by the incompatibility. "Some companies, large as well as small and around the world, have had the problem. We are still assessing the exact number," Leech said.

Computer users who have not updated their antivirus engines for several years, however, may be in for a nasty surprise, Leech said. "Those customers have a false sense of security. Their systems could be infected with all kinds of viruses like Melissa and Love Letter." New versions of the scan engines are made to detect newer viruses. "Love Letter and Melissa required an engine update," Leech said.

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.

Joris Evers

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

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?