Norton FP trashes Chinese systems

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   May 21, 2007

Vital DLLs flagged as malware disable Windows XP across China.

A serious false positive, caused by an erroneous update to Symantec's Norton Anti-virus product range issued late last week, has left thousands of Chinese computers in an unusable state.

Updates released on Thursday 17 May led the Symantec security software, including Norton Internet Security and Norton 360, to flag both netapi32.dll and lsasrv.dll as the 'Haxdoor' backdoor trojan, at least on certain Simplified Chinese language versions of Windows XP SP2, with certain patch levels. Users who shut down or rebooted after the update have found their machines blue-screening and will have to resort to serious restore methods to fix the problem and replace the quarantined or deleted files.

The Chinese Internet Security Response Team (CISRT) have dubbed the incident 'Black Friday' and called it 'a terrible day'. Symantec reports releasing rapid fixes to the faulty update, but estimates of the numbers of users affected by the issue are in the tens of thousands, with local security firm Rising reporting 7,000 affected users contacting their support systems for advice.

'Occasional false positives are inevitable in modern security software, with speedy response times and high levels of heuristics a requirement to keep up with the pace of malware development,' said John Hawes, Technical Consultant at Virus Bulletin. 'When an FP hits important system files, the consequences can be very serious for users, and this should serve as a reminder to all that thorough backups, of whole systems as well as important data, are a vital component in the battle to keep computers running in the face of any assault, be it malicious or accidental.'

A CISRT blog entry on the problem is here, with more information from Rising here. Walk-throughs of a possible method for fixing broken systems, for Chinese readers, are here (from Rising) and here (from Kingsoft).

Just a day after this false positive incident, Chinese computer users were hit by another, less serious case, with Kaspersky products briefly alerting on a component of popular local AV software Rising - another CISRT blog entry is here.

Posted on 21 May 2007 by Virus Bulletin

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