PCs Crash Across Campus and the World
Faulty McAfee update keeps users off-line
Last week, a cloud of volcanic ash from a volcano in Iceland shut down air travel across Europe. Now a glitch in McAfee antivirus software has shut down personal computers, freezing workplaces around the world.
Michael Krugman, Information Services & Technology (IS&T) associate vice president, said the McAfee misfire probably affected hundreds, if not more, of PC users at Boston University. It had no effect on Mac users.
“This is a national, if not global, problem related to a bug in McAfee antivirus software on XP systems, specifically running the latest version of McAfee antivirus software (McAfee Virus Scan 8.70i),” Krugman wrote in an e-mail sent to students, faculty, and staff.
“IS&T took early action on campus to limit our exposure,” said Krugman. “We are hoping the impact won’t be as significant at BU as elsewhere.”
Last night, IS&T sent an e-mail advising BU network users that ithad developed a remediation procedure for the issue and outlining thesteps to take. Those with affected computers should contact their localIT support person or group. IS&T advised users with no local ITsupport group to go to www.bu.edu/help and enter a ticket or to call the IT Help Center Service Desk at 617-353-HELP (4357), where a staff member can enter a ticket.
John Bodi, an administrator at Information Systems Planning & Support , said the problem file was included in a nightly update sent by McAfee, intended to protect computers running on XP systems from bugs. In this case, however, the antivirus software misidentified a harmless file and prevented computers from booting up.
Some users reported that their computers were restarting without a task bar or that they were only able to cut and paste.
Leo Paré, a senior staff assistant for marketing and communications in the Athletics Department, said a quarter of the people in his department were affected by the glitch. An error message appeared on their screens with a countdown clock marking when computers would shut down, Paré said. When they restarted, no one could log on.
Paré called it a “hiccup” in the workday. He said the staff switched to paper and pencil or stuck with Photoshop. “We’re going back to basics,” he said. “We just unplugged from the network.”1 Comments