McAfee Glitch Reboots Computers, Again and Again

Published on April 21, 2010
by Ben Worthen

PCs across the country rebooted continuously Wednesday, in a mass outbreak reminiscent of the widespread computer viruses from a decade ago. The cause this time wasn’t a virus, however, but a glitch on the part of a company that’s supposed to stop such malicious programs.

Security company McAfee Wednesday morning issued a software update intended to give the computers that it’s contracted to protect a new list of malicious files to block and delete. Somehow a file that is part of Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows operating system made it on to the list. And when McAfee’s software deleted this file, all hell broke loose.

People all over the country reported that their computers stopped working. Among the victimized organization were a hospital in Rhode Island, police in Kentucky and the National Science Foundation, according to the AP.

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