McAfee update knocks out a slew of computers

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Griffin
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McAfee update knocks out a slew of computers

Postby Griffin » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:24 pm UTC

Article:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-200030 ... ontentBody

May have noticed that all computers that updated McAfee today are now kind of kaput.

Well, I fixed the ones in by department, but in general.

Hopefully, this is their death knell, and people will consider switching to good antiviruses. Realistically, more people will end up using Norton. (blegh) Maybe not news most people will care about, but those with McAfee (or who hate McAfee) might be interested.

So what does everyone else think?

(Also, for those who have the problem, remember first that Ctrl-alt-del -> file -> new task(run...) -> type cmd -> under command line, shutdown -a will cancel any comp shutdown problems. Then, download sdat5957 (good luck with that!) and get it on your computer somehow. Run it from the command line with a /F after it (to force it). Then find a good copy of svchost.exe and put it in the windows/system32 and windows/system32/dllcache folder.)

Edited to modify topic title and add a news link.
Last edited by Griffin on Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:50 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Hawknc » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:28 pm UTC

Uh...for those of us who don't use McAfee, could you be slightly more descriptive? Have widespread issues been reported anywhere yet?

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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Kulantan » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:34 pm UTC

Link to an article next time. Tis helpful.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby SummerGlauFan » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:36 pm UTC

It appears limited to their corporate clients, and a specific subset of xp users at that.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Duban » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:28 pm UTC

I'm using mcafee and don't have a problem. Beats my old antivirus software trend micro PCCillin. PC cillin was great at telling you you have a virus, but completely useless for actually removing it. It only removed viruses with about a 50% success rate. So, what's so bad about McAfee other than a single isolated incident?
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Gears » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:35 pm UTC

I use Avast! and haven't had a virus in a very long time.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby SummerGlauFan » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:39 pm UTC

Gears wrote:I use Avast! and haven't had a virus in a very long time.


I considered getting that, but a friend of mine got a rather serious virus that Avast! didn't even see, let alone remove. Then again, no antivirus is perfect.

Suggestions? I'm getting a new computer soon, and I don't want my dad installing McAfee on it like very other computer in the house.*

*He gets a premium version via his work, but it didn't get the problem mentioned here. Then again, I'm not part of that group of xp users either.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby The Reaper » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:49 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:Suggestions? I'm getting a new computer soon, and I don't want my dad installing McAfee on it like very other computer in the house.

x64 Linux of an uncommon distro.

-shrug- :3

I've got corporate symantec on my windows machine, it does well enough, but then again, I'm fairly particular about what I run from my downloads.

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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby gametaku » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:41 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:
Gears wrote:I use Avast! and haven't had a virus in a very long time.


Suggestions? I'm getting a new computer soon, and I don't want my dad installing McAfee on it like very other computer in the house.



I use Smart Computing Habits™ , so far I've had 100% success rate in virus prevention, and it doesn't use any CPU cycles.

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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby SummerGlauFan » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:50 am UTC

gametaku wrote:
SummerGlauFan wrote:
Gears wrote:I use Avast! and haven't had a virus in a very long time.


Suggestions? I'm getting a new computer soon, and I don't want my dad installing McAfee on it like very other computer in the house.



I use Smart Computing Habits™ , so far I've had 100% success rate in virus prevention, and it doesn't use any CPU cycles.


:D

Really, though, smart habits can't prevent all viruses. For example, I've seen viruses try to get transmitted via ad banners on websites. That's what happened to my friend who had one get past Avast! which had otherwise done really well for him. Then again, on my main computer I use it almost exclusively for gaming, and rarely visit any website outside of youtube or xkcd.

Speaking of good computer habits, I felt the pain of help desk techs today; stupid "customers," though in this case not really a customer. For the past month, my sister has been piggybacking off an unsecured wireless network one of her neighbors had. I told her not to do that, especially since she just had her comp's basic firewall, but she refused to listen. Lo and behold, as of today she has 33 viruses on that machine.
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I knew from that moment that she was something special"


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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Jessica » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:54 am UTC

Yeah, our company got fucked by this too. Today fucking sucked for this reason alone.

Our backend wrapped up the fix in a quick exe we can run on our user's comps because if we had to follow that solution on all of them, we'd be fucked for days. Stupid god damn users...

And I'm glad that we can just go start run shutdown -a to stop the shutdown process. See above about stupid god damn users.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Kayangelus » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:00 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:
Gears wrote:I use Avast! and haven't had a virus in a very long time.


Suggestions? I'm getting a new computer soon, and I don't want my dad installing McAfee on it like very other computer in the house.*


Make sure you have a list of all important things on your computer, and how to re-acquire them. If you have any important files, have them also saved somewhere outside of your hard drive (ex: USB, e-mail) or on an external hard drive along with an internal.

Preventing the getting of a virus is always ideal. However, being able to return your computer into its original condition no matter how badly the software goes bananas on you in a matter of hours (with most of that time the computer running programs so that you are free to do other stuff) is always a good back up plan.

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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Jessica » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:07 am UTC

External backups are key for everything.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby SummerGlauFan » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:12 am UTC

External backup, especially multiple forms, is indeed crucial. I can't tell you how many assignments in college were saved by having at least 3 digital copies available.

However, my question is more to do with good antivirus programs, though special tricks to avoid viruses or get rid of really tricky ones is of course welcome.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby rath358 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:24 am UTC

Although the site is quite the eyesore, this is fairly complete guide for virus issues
http://www.gaiaonline.com/forum/compute ... .48412007/

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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Amarantha » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:17 am UTC

Thanks to the quick actions of some sysadmins, we dodged the bullet on this one :)
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Goldstein » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:00 am UTC

Griffin wrote:Hopefully [...] people will consider switching to good antiviruses.


After slating McAfee and Norton, would you care to offer something a little more positive by naming good antivirus software? Particularly, if you're hoping that people will consider switching, it might help you.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Jessica » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:45 pm UTC

Corporations aren't going to switch. And individual consumers generally don't use Mcafee. So whatever.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Griffin » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:30 pm UTC

So, there is a lot of pressure on my administration to use this as an excuse to dump McAfee, which everyone hates. I've heard Kaspersky and NOD13 are the two best antivirus a person can get. Does anyone here use them, and can confirm their quality?
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Yakk » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:03 pm UTC

So apparently this was a pre-release "evaluate and use at own risk" patch from McAfee that they handed out to sysadmins.

Sysadmins saw "early release of anti-virus rules! Sweet! Let's install this on my entire corporate network without any testing for problems!"

Now, McAfee won't get much traction from stating the above: sysadmins who had a problem have a vested interest in strongly arguing that McAfee should be never purchased again and dumped ASAP. And McAfee shouldn't push out even early-release "use at own risk" patches that shut down one of the most popular operating systems in corporate environments, period.

At the same time, sysadmins should always test "use at own risk" style patches on a representative sample of computers before deploying them company wide.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Crius » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:27 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:I considered getting that, but a friend of mine got a rather serious virus that Avast! didn't even see, let alone remove. Then again, no antivirus is perfect.

Suggestions? I'm getting a new computer soon, and I don't want my dad installing McAfee on it like very other computer in the house.*


MSE is probably the best way to go for a home computer at this point.

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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby faranim » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:18 pm UTC

I got this e-mail from McAfee before the DAT file was even officially available for download. Perhaps this only affected systems using Automatic Updates? All of our systems running McAfee are not connected to the internet, so they only get updated by manually burning the definitions to CD and installing them.

Our corporate IT department (to which I have no affiliation) switched from Symantec to Sophos AntiVirus several Months ago. Unfortunately the DoD requires either Symantec or McAfee. With the introduction of HBSS, it seems like everyone will be forced to switch to McAfee ePolicy soon (at least for systems delivered to the DoD).

-----Original Message-----
From: AVERT_DAT_Release@avertlabs.com [mailto:AVERT_DAT_Release@avertlabs.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 1:16 PM
To: [Faranim]
Subject: URGENT ALERT: False Detection with DAT 5958

Urgent Alert:

McAfee is aware of a w32/wecorl.a false positive with the 5958 DAT file April 21 at 2:00pm (GMT +1), which is affecting numerous customers.

McAfee advises customers NOT to download this DAT and to disable automatic pull and update tasks.

Watch for updates on this issue, which will be sent on a timely basis.

Customer Communication

This message is being sent to customers via Support Notification Service (SNS), McAfee Labs DAT Notification List, MTIS, and a Platinum Proactive.

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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Griffin » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:39 pm UTC

All the computers on my campus have a mandatory daily update, so thats why we got hit so hard. I don't know what "sysadmins" had to do with it - the updates are from the McAfee server as far as I can tell.

Crius, MSE is Microsoft Security Essentials, right?

I was actually hoping for something corporate level, not for home use. Home use I run linux. I just want to use this as an opportunity to push my superiors to switch to something reasonable.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby SummerGlauFan » Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:58 pm UTC

Wait, someone actually recommended something from Microsoft? o_O
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I knew from that moment that she was something special"


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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:54 pm UTC

It has affected about 10,000 computers at my job.

I remain unaffected.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Endless Mike » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:02 pm UTC

I've been using Microsoft Security Essentials with no problems and it's caught a couple issues resulting from visiting sketchy sites. AV Comparatives ranked it as the best free anti-virus. (Citation.)

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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Occams_Razor » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:09 pm UTC

Gears wrote:I use Avast! and haven't had a virus in a very long time.

I use Avast! because it makes me feel like a pirate, a pirate with severe virus related issues, but a pirate all the same.

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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Crius » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:54 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:Crius, MSE is Microsoft Security Essentials, right?

I was actually hoping for something corporate level, not for home use. Home use I run linux. I just want to use this as an opportunity to push my superiors to switch to something reasonable.


Yeah, Microsoft Security Essentials. I'm referring to home use, of course; I can't speak to much about the corporate environment.

We are using McAfee at work, but I haven't noticed any problems yet, though I believe we tend to screen patches pretty throughly before pushing them out, so I would hope this was caught.

SummerGlauFan wrote:Wait, someone actually recommended something from Microsoft? o_O


Keep in mind we're talking about anti-virus software - it's not filled with many examples of stellar software, particularly if you're looking for a free version.

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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:45 am UTC

Duban wrote:So, what's so bad about McAfee other than a single isolated incident?


Single....isolated.... not so much....

I've maintained the position that McAfee produces some of the worst malware out there. It resists uninstall, spams users who don't want to pay after the expiration of a "free" trial, takes destruct action on data without the user's consent, slows systems to a crawl, scares old women with shitty heuristic detection schemes, and falsely identifies system files as infected even when they're not. Hopefully this will kill off some of McAfee's market share, they'll likely lose it to Norton but at least Norton has tools to remove their software when it implodes that doesn't involve formating the hard drive...
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Re: McAfee update knocks out a slew of computers

Postby LuNatic » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:45 am UTC

The problem with corporate environments switching away from McAfee and Symantec, is that few if any other vendors provide comprehensive large network management solutions with their software. In a company running more than 20 machines, this is a big issue.
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Re: McAfee update knocks out a slew of computers

Postby Griffin » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:21 pm UTC

Are there any corporate alternatives though?

Though I consider Norton far better than McAfee, its no dream either. Surely there must be other alternatives at the corporate level than these two utterly terrible companies?
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby phillipsjk » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:26 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:
gametaku wrote:
I use Smart Computing Habits™ , so far I've had 100% success rate in virus prevention, and it doesn't use any CPU cycles.


:D

Really, though, smart habits can't prevent all viruses. For example, I've seen viruses try to get transmitted via ad banners on websites. That's what happened to my friend who had one get past Avast! which had otherwise done really well for him. Then again, on my main computer I use it almost exclusively for gaming, and rarely visit any website outside of youtube or xkcd.

Speaking of good computer habits, I felt the pain of help desk techs today; stupid "customers," though in this case not really a customer. For the past month, my sister has been piggybacking off an unsecured wireless network one of her neighbors had. I told her not to do that, especially since she just had her comp's basic firewall, but she refused to listen. Lo and behold, as of today she has 33 viruses on that machine.


Yes, smart computing habits can prevent all viruses, but that advice is not something the average user finds helpful. The "dumb users" are not the only ones with bad computing habits. Programmers have a habit of writing software that is impossible to properly secure.

For some reason, just about every file format supports the execution of untrusted code. Why can't we have file formats that are never executable? PDF files were one such format until about version 6 of Adobe Acrobat (where JavaScript was introduced) (the PostScript files they replace are Turing-complete). I know there have been problems with image handling libraries, but that is something that will probably take hundreds of years to fix (code needs to be routinely proven correct).

Even if you insist on installing Adobe Flash, you can limit its damage by running it in a separate, limited user account. Unfortunately, Adobe tries to force you to install it system-wide. With the Linux version your can drop it into the ~/.mozilla/plugins directory and only affect the one user. Not sure how to do something similar with the Windows version.

Griffen: The alternative is to use a UNIX variant with proper permissions set up. The SUDO configuration file format is complicated because it was designed with many machines in mind: all machines share the central configuration file, but may allow different permissions based on the hostname. Of course, such a solution has its own security problems; and nobody got fired for choosing IBM Microsoft.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Kayangelus » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:14 am UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:Hopefully this will kill off some of McAfee's market share, they'll likely lose it to Norton but at least Norton has tools to remove their software when it implodes that doesn't involve formating the hard drive...


The windows CD my computer came with, that is necessary to reformat it, already has a "free" mandatory trial of McAfee on it. My notebook too, the reformat installs McAfee. So in some cases, even formatting the hard drive isn't enough to get rid of McAfee. Which sucks.

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Re: McAfee update knocks out a slew of computers

Postby phillipsjk » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:46 am UTC

You lack imagination. You can format a computer using FreeDOS, Plan 9, GNU/Linux distro of your choice, BSD distro of your choice, Retail Windows Disk of your choice or generic OEM disk "bonded" to your computer.

Sure not all your software will work (for the non-Windows alternatives), but most of the viruses won't work either (unless you run them under Wine).

Edit: possibly relevant: How to format a hard drive.
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Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby SlyReaper » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:57 am UTC

Kayangelus wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:Hopefully this will kill off some of McAfee's market share, they'll likely lose it to Norton but at least Norton has tools to remove their software when it implodes that doesn't involve formating the hard drive...


The windows CD my computer came with, that is necessary to reformat it, already has a "free" mandatory trial of McAfee on it. My notebook too, the reformat installs McAfee. So in some cases, even formatting the hard drive isn't enough to get rid of McAfee. Which sucks.


Uninstall it then. My laptop's recovery disks come with Norton pre-installed. You can bet your life that the first thing I do after using those disks is to remove that crap.
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Re: McAfee update knocks out a slew of computers

Postby Griffin » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:48 pm UTC

Uninstall McAfee? Hahaha.

From my experience, that is much easier said than done.
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Re: McAfee update knocks out a slew of computers

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:59 am UTC

How? Surely it appears in the "add/remove programs" list? Uninstall it from there, then run CCleaner to mop up any registry entries that might still be hanging around like a bad smell.

Edit: and if it doesn't appear in the add/remove programs list, you can always resort to just deleting the program folder.
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Re: McAfee update knocks out a slew of computers

Postby LuNatic » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:42 am UTC

If its anything like Norton, the provided uninstaller will simply pop up a message saying something to the effect of "You are not authorised to uninstall this product". Then you have to contact the vendor, who will demand a reason for why you are trying to remove their product. Once you convince them that yes, you want to remove their product, no you do not want to upgrade to a newer version, and no you do not want to spend 2 hours on hold for tech support, they will reluctantly send you a download link for a special removal tool that, after 5-6 Oh me yarm DONT DO THIS U WILL GET T3H VIRUS!!1! warnings, will take half an hour to remove the sartup services and a few other bits and pieces, and will still need a ccleaner run do deal with completely.
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Re: McAfee update knocks out a slew of computers

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:28 am UTC

I have never had that problem with Norton. It pops up a few warnings along the lines of "please don't kill me, please please please", but I've never needed to contact the company for special downloads or whatnot.
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What would Baron Harkonnen do?

Kayangelus
Posts: 262
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:37 am UTC

Re: So, those of you in the help desk profession...

Postby Kayangelus » Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:06 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:
Kayangelus wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:Hopefully this will kill off some of McAfee's market share, they'll likely lose it to Norton but at least Norton has tools to remove their software when it implodes that doesn't involve formating the hard drive...


The windows CD my computer came with, that is necessary to reformat it, already has a "free" mandatory trial of McAfee on it. My notebook too, the reformat installs McAfee. So in some cases, even formatting the hard drive isn't enough to get rid of McAfee. Which sucks.


Uninstall it then. My laptop's recovery disks come with Norton pre-installed. You can bet your life that the first thing I do after using those disks is to remove that crap.


I did. However, having to download a special uninstall tool from Nod 32's website because McAfee didn't come with an uninstall function was annoying. And yes, Nod 32's website actually has a separate file for uninstalling most of their competition's programs. ^^

On the downside, I wouldn't use their software if you wanted to install a different anti-virus.


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