Imagine this scenario: sitting at work, when suddenly you get a message from the companies McAfee system that you have a virus and the computer is shutting down. Try to reboot, and the same message appears. Then you find out it’s not just your computer, but everybody else’s. It appears as if the entire company’s system is infected with the wecorl.a virus.
Unfortunately, this scenario has been playing out in many places today, and not because of an actual virus. The problem lies with the McAfee Anti-Virus corporate software, specifically the 5958 virus definition file (DAT). The problem is that the DAT is causing the software to delete the svchost.exe file, which is causing all the problems. “Infected” computers are only hose running Windows XP SP3 (though Engadget hears reports of some SP2 computer being affected).
The DAT has since been removed, and will soon be replaced with a new version, so no more companies can be affected. The current fix going around the web involves manually fixing each individual computer, quite a task for larger companies. I have seen the update affect my college campus, though not every classroom desktop. Some machines have been receiving the error message, disrupting class presentations depending largely on PowerPoint. Others, however work just as they have any other day. The fallout from this should prove quite interesting, we’ll have to see how else McAfee and its corporate customers respond after they get back up and running again.