A popular antivirus service inadvertently shut down millions of laptops, desktops, and servers of businesses and individual users when it mistook core files of Microsoft’s Windows operating system as a threat.
Webroot Inc., based out of Broomfield, CO, said it has fully fixed the detection algorithm that caused its antivirus software to attack Window’s core files. The core files of Microsoft’s popular operating system were put into quarantine by the antiviral program and locked users out of their files. A spokesperson for Webroot announced that the problem had been fixed and that users should leave their computer connected to the internet to receive the update to unlock their OS.
It was made clear by Webroot that their program was never breached, and malicious software is still being quarantined by the program. The outage lasted around 13 minutes for businesses and individuals around the globe. Many took to social media to get their frustration heard. Unfortunately for Webroot, as customers were requesting for their data to be restored after the fix, their own servers become overloaded by the number of requests and crashed. Problems began when Webroot itself was miss-identifying facebook.com as an identity fishing site and blocked the entire domain outright.
This is a prime example of why it is key to not only have a backup of your computer, but a second copy for files that cannot be lost. As malicious software is becoming harder to detect, antiviral companies need to become smarter and look in new places for hidden malware. Unfortunately, it can lead to an unintentional quarantine of core files that an operating system needs to function. As technology continues to become smarter, malware is an ever growing concern and is becoming more of an unsolvable problem every day.