Symantec fires off false alarm on WoW update


John Leyden

World of Warcraft denizens are complaining that an anti-virus update published by Symantec over the weekend falsely labelled a component of the game as potentially malign.

Instead of throwing spells or wielding axes, fans of the role-playing game who choose Symantec for their security protection complain that the firms is listing benign library as an information stealer. Multiple posts on a WoW forum suggest that the problem is far from isolated.

We asked Symantec if it could shed any light on the situation on Monday lunchtime, but have yet to hear back.

There's been a rash of false positives involving anti-virus products over recent months, as the Internet Storm Centre notes. Issues with false alerts and security suites are becoming more common despite improvements in system architecture simply because the increased number of malware threats, estimated at 50,000 a day, are forcing suppliers to publish updates far more frequently.

Where the false positive involves applications files, such as the latest Symantec and Warcraft case, temporary inconvenience results. Things get a lot more serious in cases where system files are flagged as potentially malign, a problem that left substantial numbers of corporate PCs running McAfee unusable last month.

Days later a gang of guerilla marketeers turned up at the Infosec show in London wearing hoodies brandishing the slogan "You were only supposed to blow up the bloody viruses" in an Italian Job-themed dig at the security giant over the incident.

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