Norton AntiVirus software detects a new 'virus': Microsoft Windows - and disables it

A routine update of anti-virus software has disabled tens of thousands of PCs in China, according to local media reports. The faulty update caused Symantec's Norton AntiVirus software to remove critical Windows XP system files, the reports state.

A wave of PC failures swept the country this morning as PC users switched on their PCs and the software took action. Some companies have been so badly hit - with hundreds of failed PCs - that they are unable to function, local reporters said.

Symantec appeared slow to react, but later said it is "extremely sorry for any inconvenience users may have suffered". Experts from a rival local antivirus firm were the first to suggest a solution to an incident they described as "the worse catastrophe of this kind in five years" (all links in Chinese).

The system files moved or deleted by the software include netapi32.dll and lsasrv.dll, according to Sohu News. The software incorrectly identifies the files as being infected with the Backdoor.Haxdoor trojan. With these files removed, Windows XP will no longer start up, and even the system safe mode no longer functions. Only Chinese-language versions of Windows appear to be affected so far.

norton antivirus problem screenshot The Norton AntiVirus application is part of Norton's 360 suite and it is pre-installed in many PCs sold in China, indicating that the problem could potentially affect millions of users.

Patched PCs vulnerable

The problem appears to stem from an update Microsoft released in November 2006, which contained new versions of some system files, as PCs which have not applied this update are unaffected.

Symantec has acknowledged the issue and is working on a solution, some reports said - although there is currently no apparent mention of the issue or Symantec's response on the company's Chinese website. Update May 19 - Symantec has now published a fairly complicated method for fixing the issue.

PC owners affected by the issue may be able to restore the missing files from their Windows XP installation CDs. However, since piracy of Windows XP is common in China, some users may not have access to these. 

The files can be restored using the Windows Recovery Console, which is can be accessed by booting a PC from the Windows XP installation disk.

Update: This issue has now been reported by numerous sources in China, including China Central TV and the official state run Xinhua News Agency (links in Chinese).
Update May 19: Added response from Symantec and comments from Ruijing.

PCs Crippled by Norton ANTIVIRUS!

This sounds like a very serious blunder. How did it get through testing? If millions of PCs are unusable and they are sued for a few days of lost production for each PC, that could add up to a total of tens of millions of dollars

Our design shop was totally wiped out.

Our design shop was totally wiped out. You don not want to know what it feels like to see 53 PCs that you are supposed to support all boot up with a blue screen, sick doesn't describe it. I KNEW I have lost my job - until found out it's Norton fault

Most of the work was on main system filer, fortunately, but We end up with three designers pushing and pulling each other, just about fighting, to use the only PC with English version of Windows, that still worked, to finish their projects

I'm not going to type my company name for obvious reasons. If our clients found out about this...

The fix wasnt so hard, but we spend hours to apply to all PCs, and looks like my asst borked one while he's doing it

Yes, but it only happened on

Yes, but it only happened on Windows xp CHS.
In China, millions of computers have been broken.

What do you mean 'only'?!

What do you mean 'only'?! That's a lot of computers, dude!

Symantec sued?

The first legal case related to this was filed in Beijing a few days ago - not sure if the court accepted it.

For those who are wondering, Chinese law does have an equivalent to the US 'class action'.

So if it's really millions of computers...

I want dawanload Symantic AntiVirus +Free

i want proteced my PC from "Virus".

Norton AntiVirus

i want proteced from the virus .my pc very slow i want to dawanload Norton Anti Virus thank you

Windows updated and Norton Crashed it

So thats what happened to me today, I ended up loosing all my system 32/config files. I tried to use my windows disk but it did not help so I had to reload windows again. Looks like I am removing Norton. What a pain having to restore all my programs

Well, it is a good thing -

Well, it is a good thing - less illegal child-labour for chineese. And if the CDs are pirated, it is of chineese fault. I am actualy happy to hear that, I have a friend who is developing a worm which will afect only chineese-script wielding systems. Let us hope he finishes it when said - at the begining of year 2009!
That will be a nice Christmas gift!
We wish you merry Christmas, we wish you merry Christmas we wish you merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

isnt it we wish you a merry

isnt it we wish you a merry christmas and a happy new beer??

well all i say norton doesnt

well all i say norton doesnt delete system files,it also eats your ram,it allows hacker through the firewall even with the most upto date firewall, i trust no antivirus software now avira was hyped up it didnt find nothing,avg is bloatware,we need to protect our system in the first place,i reccomend kaspersky,avoraxshield,and spywareterminator,no matter what firewall u got on they always get rhough it stick to those forementioned software and system protect and u should be ok :)

Use linux

Linux is one of the most secure operating systems. Use it!!!!!

Norton software

Quit complaning!!!!!!!!


Maaaan, you know there is such thing in the web like search engine, if you don't, go there to understand why this post is bullshit

You want better PC security?

You want better PC security? Then forget about Norton. This product is for techies only who knows how to configure an antivirus software. Else prepare for frequent PC hang ups, blue screens, sudden crashes - you name it! it is 2009 and still these issues persist with norton.

Better alternatives: avg, trendmicro anti-virus, kaspersky antivirus to name a few.

This is in the US

This virus is in the US. The document on this page is from 2007 in China.. I believe it has entered the States in 2010

It is one of the free known

It is one of the free known to me anti-virus makers who provide a free version with real-time protection and automatic updates.Awesome. just awesome...i haven't any word to appreciate this post.....Really i am impressed from this post....

I dont like Norton

I have always found that Norton is too resource hungry and casues more problems than it solves. Thanks.