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McAfee's Longest Day

 
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Apparently, the besieged, McAfee antivirus-protected world saw little relief in the past 24 hours with McAfee engineers still scrambling to come forth with an answer. I guess the Executive VP, Barry McPherson, doesn't use his own product because he was able to post to his blog a couple of times yesterday--although he's been oddly silent today.

Sup, Barry? Cheap labor starting to affect your business?

Maybe it's time that we all reconsider the "cost savings" and promises of "just as good as" development.

Unrelated you say? Possibly. But, it's never happened before in the history of McAfee, so you tell me. OK, enough on that topic. Back to the issue at hand.

From my post, "Global McAfee Glitch..." yesterday, one reader asked, "What should I do now?" I told him to "Boot up in safe mode, remove McAfee and install Avast antivirus."

Will that solve the problem?

Yes.

Will it solve the problem long term?

Probably.

Why?

Because now, antivirus software developers will learn from this experience and create snapshots of critical operating system files, quarantine them, and restore them if they become damaged or changed.

What about Service Packs and other updates, you say?

Easy. The manufacturer of said operating system, Windows, will provide a "signature" for their files that antivirus programs can read that lists critical files, sizes, time and date stamps and other important information.

What if a clever virus writer is able to crack those?

The signature file will have a special code that validates it. This will be like the MD5 checksum codes to validate your downloads from websites to make sure you're getting the correct files.

Yes, I agree, virus writers should use their powers for good but they won't. They're greedy, stupid, cowardly losers who have nothing constructive to do with their time.

The first time I ever heard of a virus was in 1982 or 1983, when someone told me about one and about something call a "flu shot" that takes care of it. Good grief. Find something better to do with your time. Take up a hobby unrelated to computers or virus writing.

I'm sorry that this happened to McAfee's customers. I'm sorry for McAfee. They will lose a lot of customers because of this. It will take years to recover from this fiasco. According to the blog, it was a signature gone bad. Nobody's perfect. But don't you have some kind of internal quality control for this stuff?

The bottom line is that companies like McAfee will have to become more diligent in their signature updates and in their virus writer second-guessing.

McAfee developers, where ever you live, I don't envy you. Godspeed in fixing the problem.

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