What does one do when one’s antivirus turns on them, flagging the Operating System itself as a malware? Well, that’s precisely what happened to Webroot. Webroot, a private American company that has been providing Internet security for consumers and businesses since 1997 faced an issue with one of its malware signatures which then proceeded to flag Windows system files as malicious ones.
The malware signature update issued on Monday, essentially prompted the software into thinking that Windows system files were malware and then proceeded to delete them or attempt to clean the files. The result being that millions of system all over the worlds crashed as these files are needed by the Operating System to, well, operate. Starting from the US east coast, the antivirus proceeded to falsely identify Windows files as W32.Trojan.Gen, which are generic malware. This lead to vital Windows files and libraries being quarantined, thus being made unavailable by the Operating System.
In addition, several major websites, such as Bloomberg and Facebook were also marked as phishing sites, thus preventing users from accessing the sites. With an approximate 30 Million users, Webroot has not exactly provided a concrete solution. Rather they seem to have suggested a number of “fixes” both their Home and Business edition offerings. According to a spokesperson at Webroot the company is “in the process of creating a fix,” but declined to state exactly when the fix would arrive.
Webroot isn’t the only one this happened to
A similar issue took place with Avast Antivirus when Microsoft released their Anniversary Update. The Antivirus blocked the Windows update from installing thus causing the system to reboot multiple times and cancel the update. It sometimes also corrupted the Windows installation as the PC would keep restarting to install the update and the Antivirus would proceed to block it. The solution was to uninstall all Avast applications and wait for a fix, which thankfully took only a day or two.
If you’re using Webroot as your primary antivirus and malware prevention tool, you might want to consider switching to another vendor till they can get a working solution for this.