Auto Fail: Automatic Update Mechanism Failure

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AutoFail From virus signature updates that identify competing products as a trojan, to operating system updates that break core functionality, there has been no shortage of quality control failures in updates released by vendors. Many of these updates are delivered to the user's computer via automatic update mechanisms. That means these problematic updates are delivered to millions of computers quietly and efficiently, typically without user interaction.

It's always welcome to see security bugs fixed or better rules released in the products we use. But when the price of that fix is at best an annoyance and at worst a complete system failure, we're not so sure it's worth it. At the very least, users should be aware of the various types of failures and the frequency with which they occur.

While mistakes happen to everyone, we'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to notice any trends from repeat offenders.

When Incident
2013-12-06 Samsung retries botched update to Galaxy S3 smartphone
2013-07-31 McAfee Artemis/GTI File Reputation False Positive
2013-04-17 Flawed Malwarebytes security update wipes out thousands of computers
2013-02-14 A world of hurt after McAfee mistakenly revokes key for signing Mac apps
2013-02-06 Kaspersky anti-virus cuts web access of thousands of PCs
2012-12-05 Avast! Antivirus Removes Critical File on Windows XP
2012-09-21 Shh/Updater-B false positive by Sophos anti-virus products
2012-08-21 McAfee Antivirus Update Causes Problems for Home and Enterprise Customers
2012-07-14 Symantec Anti-Virus Update Makes Some PCs Inoperable
2012-06-08 CareFusion AVEA Drive-by Malware on Software Update Site
2012-05-15 Avira Antivirus update cripples millions of Windows PCs
2011-10-26 Avira anti-virus detects itself
2011-09-29 Faulty Microsoft AV update nukes Chrome browser
2011-04-06 McAfee recovers from Sesame Street email filter mix-up
2011-03-15 F-Secure Mac Protection Beta Problems
2010-12-02 Horror AVG update ballsup bricks Windows 7
2010-05-17 Symantec fires off false alarm on WoW update
2010-05-07 Astaro IDS update causes firewalls not to route
2010-04-10 McAfee Update Glitch Takes Down Windows XP Computers
2010-03-20 Bad BitDefender Antivirus Update Hobbles Windows PCs
2010-02-11 Microsoft WinXP users: hold off on installing MS010-15
2010-01-28 Symantec slaps Trojan alert against Spotify
2010-01-25 Kaspersky update slaps Trojan warning on Google Adsense
2010-01-05 Symantec tripped up by Y2.01K bug
2009-08-12 CA auto-immune update trashes systems
2009-07-31 Microsoft 'update' breaks Office for Mac
2009-07-29 AVG antivirus update attacks Apple's iTunes
2009-07-10 Rogue CA update bricks Win XP systems
2009-07-03 McAfee false-positive glitch fells PCs worldwide
2009-06-09 McAfee downplays service pack fail
2009-05-22 Dodgy McAfee update slaps viral warning on Spotify
2008-12-02 SonicWALL licensing snafu short-circuits protection
2008-11-14 AVG slaps Trojan label on Adobe Flash
2008-11-11 AVG slaps Trojan label on core Windows file
2008-10-21 McAfee update classifies Vista component as a Trojan
2008-10-15 AVG flags ZoneAlarm as malware
2008-09-08 Trend virus update freezes some PCs
2008-08-06 McAfee slaps Trojan warning on MS Office Live
2008-07-09 Grisoft modifies its free AVG product after complaints
2008-01-04 McAfee spies malware in legit JavaScript apps
2007-12-31 CA issues false warning on JavaScript apps
2007-12-21 Kaspersky inadvertently quarantines Windows Explorer
2007-12-07 Symantec Screwup Is 'Worse Than Any Virus'
2007-08-31 AVG cries wolf at Adobe Reader
2007-08-27 Microsoft Piracy Check Snafu Mislabels Authentic Windows Copies
2007-08-03 False positives run amok in Microsoft Vista anti-virus tests
2007-07-17 Norton labels Nasa app as adware
2007-03-01 Yahoo! false! alert! drama!
2006-11-14 OneCare slaps viral warning on Gmail
2006-03-16 Norton security software updates blocks AOL users' internet access
2006-03-13 McAfee virus definition deletes or quarantines legitimate files
2006-02-23 Sophos in Mac OS X worm false alarm
2006-02-14 Microsoft anti-spyware labels Symantec as Trojan
2005-05-10 Symantec false alert floors Macs
2004-09-07 McAfee AV ate my application
2003-08-06 McAfee VirusScan "bugs"?
2003-05-27 Microsoft XP Security Update recalled
2002-03-15 Microsoft blunders another security patch

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