Bad Avira Antivirus Update Brings Windows PCs To A Stand Still

Brad Chacos

Bad definitions pop up every now and again in the antivirus world, as evidenced by that boondoggle a few months back when Microsoft's AV started banning Google's Chrome browser as a malicious app. A new set of bad definitions may be the worst whoops! we've ever seen, though; a ProActiv definition update pushed to premium Avira subscribers brought Windows PCs around the world to a halt after incorrectly labeling a bevy of critical processes as malware. Ruh-roh Raggie!

ZDNet reports that the Avira forums were alight this morning with tales of all kinds of false positives. (We'd link to specific threads, but there are a TON.) The premium Avira antivirus programs were blocking users from accessing, amongst others:

  • \windows\system32\dllhost.exe
  • \windows\system32\explorer.exe
  • \windows\system32\iexplorer.exe
  • \windows\system32\notepad.exe
  • \windows\system32\regedit.exe
  • \windows\system32\rundll32.exe
  • \windows\system32\taskeng.exe
  • \windows\system32\wuauclt.exe
  • \Google\Google Talk\googletalk.exe
  • \OpenOffice.org 3\program\swriter.exe
  • \OpenDNS Updater\OpenDNSUpdater.exe
  • \Palm\Palm.exe
  • \iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
  • \Documents To Go\DocsToGo.exe

And those are just the ones we stumbled across in the forums and the ZDNet article! The issue was limited to premium subscribers only, as Avira free doesn't receive ProActiv updates. Avira forum moderators rushed to offer workarounds to the problem, and fortunately, the problem has already been fixed via an emergency update . The bad patch was active for less than 12 hours in total.

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