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Avast! Self Destructs



December 3rd, 2009 21:27 pm | by Ed |

Users of the Avast! anti virus had quite and adventure last night. I noticed the problem myself a little after 10pm when Avast suddenly popped up as it does once in a while to inform me that it's found a virus. Now normally it's either a file attached to an email that I"m scanning before I decide whether or not to open it or it's just something that Firefox saved in it's cache which is easily solved by clearing the cache.

This time was different. In the space of five minutes Avast reported no less than five items found infected and recommended a boot time scan. I went ahead and scheduled it. The red flag came when it found over 30 items infected and moved them to the virus chest within the first 5% of the scan. I smelled a rat and stopped the scan, rebooted, disabled Avast! and started looking online for information.

While I was looking up the Win32:Delf-MZG and Win32:ZBOT-mkk, I found this thread on DSLReorts that was swamped with people reporting the same kind of thing. As it turns out, this was caused by a buggy update that suddenly had Avast finding false positives all over the place.

Within a couple hours of it happening Avast's people had a new update out that fixed the problem however today there's quite a number of people reaching for their online backup files, drive images, and install disks to repair the damage caused because they had Avast! set to delete suspect files instead of simply moving them to the virus chest.

This is a prime example of why I always make it a habit to prevent any A/V from outright deleting stuff. I'd rather have it moved somewhere that it can be recovered from if the infection turns out to be a false positive.

When it's all said and done I'm still going to stick with Avast! because in spite of this admittedly monstrous glitch, it's currently the best free A/V out there.

Oh, and by the way, somebody ventured to guess that this was some kind of conspiracy to get people to move to the PRO version but that isn't so. The PRO version was affected the same as the free version.

Technorati Tags: update, anti virus, avast, bad update, false positive

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