A mistake by a popular antivirus software provider has crippled Windows computers for scores of users around the world.
Antivirus software Webroot issued a new update on Monday which incorrectly identified hundreds of important Windows files and other legitimate apps as malware.
In doing so, the software then started trying to remove the files and shut down the apps, crippling the computers as unfortunate users watched on in horror.
Users were also unable to access Facebook, which the Webroot update had incorrectly identified as a phishing site.
— Sean Porcher (@SeanPorcher) 24 April 2017
The issue affected both consumers and businesses running a variety of different versions of Windows.
Users then took to social media, mainly Twitter as they update had blocked them from accessing Facebook, to complain to Webroot.
@Webroot I seem to have installed a nasty Ransomware app. It's called Webroot. They already have my money, should I contact the FBI?
— Bob Ripley (@M5_Driver) 24 April 2017
@Webroot any updates? We have hotel using this antivirus and are at stand still as the application to check in check out – ALL STANDSTILL
— Kruanl Patel (@KK_Ignitus) 24 April 2017
#Webroot is setting a new record in false positives.. Apparently flagging business applications and OS files in bulk. No QA on signatures?
— Torbjørn Remmen (@torbjornremmen) 24 April 2017
The problem was caused after the update incorrectly labelled the files as a W32.Trojan.Gen, a malicious trojan file.
In a statement issued to PC World, Webroot said: “A folder that is a known target for malware was incorrectly classified as bad, and Facebook was classified as a phishing site.”
“The Facebook issue was corrected, and the Webroot team is in the process of creating a comprehensive fix for the false positive issue,” the company added.
“The files that were mistakenly marked bad have been re-marked good.”
The company then released information on steps affected users can take, but warned the process could take up to 24 hours to work.
In an update issued on Wednesday morning Bangkok time, the company said it was still working on a fix but said it expected it to be completed soon, at which point it will make it available to users incrementally.
Jonathan is our Google Nexus and Android enthusiast. He is also fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to writing about tech, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has previously written for one the UK’s leading watch and horology websites.