Author Topic: Newbie and Concerned  (Read 7461 times)

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CChamp

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Newbie and Concerned
« on: April 12, 2011, 02:50:43 PM »
Hi, I am new to these boards and to Avast. I know by a ton of research that Avast is one of the top AV programs out there so yesterday I installed it on mine and my wife's computers. You can imagine my concern when I came home last night and read that a lot of people were having a lot of problems with an update. I was not affected as I was not at home to do any surfing at the time.

I know all programs have their problems and it is to be expected, but is this somethings that has happened before and if so what measures are being taken to prevent it yet another time? We are not talking about a little glitch, I think people were actually deleting stuff off there computers thinking it was infected. I really hope this is not common as I would really like to use this program.

Thanks in advance, CC

Hermite15

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2011, 02:54:32 PM »
yeah... many questions.... but apart from a blog entry signaling the error and the correcting update, no comment and no feedback from Avast on the forums... guess this will come...

Offline Zyndstoff (aka Steven Gail)

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2011, 03:05:54 PM »
This is definetly not common and measures will be taken.

However, no procedure - no matter how perfectly designed - can eliminate the human factor for 100%. Accidents do and will always happen.

Also, take into consideration that this mishap is not something unique to Avast. Symantec, McAfee, Kaspersky, AVG - they all had their Waterloos.

We just have to live with a remaining risk - I still board planes even though occasionally they collide in mid-air or tend to fall from the skies due to human failure or unforseen circumstances.
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Hermite15

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2011, 03:10:15 PM »
not once a year ... I was among the first ones last time (back in 2009), to tell everyone that this sort of incident happened to all AV companies once in a while... meaning once every 3 or 4 years... but certainly not once a year. Again such incidents are by nature not predictable... but like I said in another section here the simplest check prior to pushing the update would have shown the mistake, as already google.com was affected by a web shield alert.

CChamp

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2011, 03:15:22 PM »
This is definetly not common and measures will be taken.

However, no procedure - no matter how perfectly designed - can eliminate the human factor for 100%. Accidents do and will always happen.

Also, take into consideration that this mishap is not something unique to Avast. Symantec, McAfee, Kaspersky, AVG - they all had their Waterloos.

We just have to live with a remaining risk - I still board planes even though occasionally they collide in mid-air or tend to fall from the skies due to human failure or unforseen circumstances.


You are 100% correct. All programs have their problems. That is why some of us have less hair than others. It is directly attributed to pulling it out because of our computers, but you can imagine my concern, how on the first day of installation and a lot of convincing to my wife on why we should switch AV programs we have major problems.

Offline Zyndstoff (aka Steven Gail)

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2011, 03:19:21 PM »
not once a year ... I was among the first ones last time (back in 2009), to tell everyone that this sort of incident happened to all AV companies once in a while... meaning once every 3 or 4 years... but certainly not once a year. Again such incidents are by nature not predictable... but like I said in another section here the simplest check prior to pushing the update would have shown the mistake, as already google.com was affected by a web shield alert.

You are right in saying, that the simplest check would have revealed the flaw.

  • I am 100% confident, that such a check is within the procedure, and I quote myself: no procedure - no matter how well designed - can counter human failure in every case.
  • The sample size we have to conclude a "once every year" is just not significant enough and the algorithm applied is mathematically incorrect: you need at least add the years prior to 2009. This would probably lead to something like "once every 4 years" with the sample size still being much to small.

Sometimes bad things happen. Or, as my grandfather used to say: when your shoe-laces snatch, you always also run out of soap at the same time.

 ;D
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isamuelson

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2011, 03:22:54 PM »
I know that no company is safe from mistakes, but something like this should have shown up in the unit/system testing before it was released. Considering it affected a majority of the users, how could something like this slip through? I'm a software developer, so I know minor bugs can creep through testing, but to me, this was one major snafu that didn't affect a small user base and it wasn't a "bug" that affected certain configurations. It affected everyone that had the update applied.

Let's put it his way. I decided to go ahead and do a full scan and Avast had scanned about 4% of my system and already flagged over 600 files as infected and quarantined them as infected. I then decided to get on my laptop and see if maybe something had happened with Avast and an update, just like McAfee last year.

Once I saw that, I then loaded up a virtual machine on my "infected" machine and downloaded another AV product to see if I could scan it that way since Avast was "corrupted". I couldn't go to any other AV sites on the "infected" machine because Avast was flagging them all as Malware infected sites. Funny how only Avast's site was immune to this!  ;)

In any case, the other AV didn't detect one single virus, although Avast kept popping up that the other AV was an infected program trying to harm my machine. I promptly uninstalled Avast and ran the scan again with the other AV and it came back clean.

I'm back up and operational, but this really caused issues at home. Both my daughters needed a computer to do their homework, so instead of having the PC and the laptop, they had to share the laptop which caused some issues because they both couldn't work on their projects for school at the same time since one machine was out of service.

No financial loss occurred for us, but productivity for my daughters was hampered and they had to stay up later than usual to get all their homework done because of this. I started trying to fix the problem at 4:30 pm and wasn't done until almost midnight between searching and doing full system scans.

Hopefully, this is a lesson learned that Awil will take seriously to ensure that full unit/system testing is done before pushing out updates. Since this has happened before with other AV companies, I hope all companies will take this issue to heart and ensure that better testing and QA is done before releasing updates to something as important as an AV program.


Hermite15

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2011, 03:23:09 PM »
@Zyndstoff this is all very funny and I won't deny that stats need more than one re-occurrence to be meaningful, but still, last time was in dec 2009 and the "no check" error was acknowledged... so I wonder what else has happened this time ::)

Offline Zyndstoff (aka Steven Gail)

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2011, 03:27:06 PM »

... but you can imagine my concern, how on the first day of installation and a lot of convincing to my wife on why we should switch AV programs we have major problems.


Imagined and understood. Even more since female logic is involved.  ;D

The first thing to remember on incidents like this one is: "To keep calm is the first obligation." Investigate the problem first, then act.

The rule to apply is: look, think, decide, act. And not: panic, act, look, startle.
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Offline Zyndstoff (aka Steven Gail)

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2011, 03:31:26 PM »
@Zyndstoff this is all very funny and I won't deny that stats need more than one re-occurrence to be meaningful, but still, last time was in dec 2009 and the "no check" error was acknowledged... so I wonder what else has happened this time ::)

I did not mean to make fun of it. Sorry if I made myself misunderstood.

But let's face it: the only imaginable thing that could have happened is that someone did not do as the procedure would have directed.

Now what would the corrective action be? Have him decapitated? Take him off of the payroll?
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dansorin

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2011, 05:02:44 PM »
This is definetly not common and measures will be taken.
this is not common to any antivirus company. but it's not long ago since avast had another situation like this. apologies were offered, also promisses that the database update release procedure will be "updated", and measures will be taken. now we have the answer to all this, it doesn't look like anything was done.
I am lucky, I didn't had any problems. but for avast it's a hit because trust is earned very hard and lost very easy.

Offline Zyndstoff (aka Steven Gail)

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2011, 05:08:56 PM »
This is definetly not common and measures will be taken.
this is not common to any antivirus company. but it's not long ago since avast had another situation like this. apologies were offered, also promisses that the database update release procedure will be "updated", and measures will be taken. now we have the answer to all this, it doesn't look like anything was done.
I am lucky, I didn't had any problems. but for avast it's a hit because trust is earned very hard and lost very easy.

I agree to your conclusion that trust is lost, of course.
I do of course also agree to the statement that this must not happen.

I disagree completely to your conclusion that "it doesn't look like anything was done". This big error resulted from a different cause.

However, this better be the last time in the next 10 years or Avast might get really bad hit - and that would be a pity. After all, it is an outstanding product.
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Offline DavidR

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2011, 05:11:58 PM »
This is definetly not common and measures will be taken.
this is not common to any antivirus company. but it's not long ago since avast had another situation like this. apologies were offered, also promisses that the database update release procedure will be "updated", and measures will be taken. now we have the answer to all this, it doesn't look like anything was done.
I am lucky, I didn't had any problems. but for avast it's a hit because trust is earned very hard and lost very easy.

Wrong, things were done and since the last incident back in 2009, avast has had additional upgrades and the introduction of new features.

It looks like one of these methods of preventing users from potentially hacked sites was where the error occurred, and I have no doubt whatsoever that additional enhancements to the validation before release of VPS updates will be made. But as has been said no one could ever guarantee 100% non-failure rate nor can they guarantee 100% detection rate.

If you don't believe that avast has done anything about VPS validation before release or will do anything about this you are mistaken and if you can't believe in avast perhaps you should be looking elsewhere, good luck.

I have been an avast user for over seven years and have never been hit by something like this (missed the one in 2009 as well), lucky I guess. or not.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 05:13:39 PM by DavidR »
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dansorin

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2011, 05:19:01 PM »
David, it looks like you are taking it personally. please don't. i'm just a bit dissapointed, just because I trust avast.
I hope the next 10 years will be error-free, as said.

street_lethal

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Re: Newbie and Concerned
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2011, 05:24:37 PM »
As I mentioned in another thread, this happens with any AV and is not a first for Avast.

http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=75978.msg629145#msg629145