Malware software targeted legitimate Windows files

Security vendor Malwarebytes has crippled thousands of computers around the world after a faulty update was applied to its software. The faulty security update applied to the software marked legitimate system files as malware code.

The company admitted to the problem on its official blog earlier this week and has since pulled the faulty update.

"At around 3PM PST yesterday [Tuesday] Malwarebytes released a definitions update that disabled thousands of computers worldwide," wrote Malwarebytes’ Marcin Kleczynski.

"Within eight minutes, the update was pulled from our servers. Immediately thereafter, users flocked to our support helpdesk and forums to ask us for a fix."

The specific operating system files that the malware update targeted included Windows.dll and.exe files. By targeting those files, the security application prevented them from running, taking IT systems and individual computers off-line.
One company that uses a software claims that the update knocked 80% of its servers off-line. Malwarebytes maintains that it has begun reworking its update policy to ensure the sort of mistake never happens again.

"We acted over-zealously in that mission and realise far superior procedures around updating are needed. More was expected of us, and we failed," wrote Kleczynski.

"We are commissioning several new resources to stop this from happening again. We are building more redundancy to check our researchers' work and improving our peer review."

Source: V3

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