Symantec has admitted that a bug in an anti-virus update caused a 'blue screen of death' for Windows PCs last week.
The company disclosed the problem on its website, saying that an update to its Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1 and Norton anti-virus software for businesses caused some PCs running Microsoft Windows XP software to crash repeatedly.
Reuters reported that around 300 corporate and 60 consumer users had been affected, and that it took Symantec hours to identify and fix the bug. Symantec blamed the glitch on software compatibility issues that arose after an update was released late on Wednesday. It said in an advisory that PCs could be fixed if customers manually removed the software from each disabled computer.
A Symantec statement said: “Symantec is aware that a subset of some of its Microsoft Windows XP desktop users may have experienced ‘blue screen' issues. Symantec has determined that the issue was limited to machines running a combination of Windows XP, the latest version of the Sonar technology, the July 11th rev11 Sonar signature set and third-party software.
“New definitions were rolled out shortly after to correct the issue. Since then, no new customer issues have been reported from the field.”
Specifically affected were Windows XP machines with third-party file system drivers (usually encryption) running: Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition (SEP SBE) 12.1; Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) 12.1; and Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud (SEP.cloud). It said that Mac users and those running Symantec Endpoint Protection 11 are not impacted.