CNET Article – McAfee’s popular antivirus software failed spectacularly on Wednesday, causing tens of thousands of Windows XP computers to crash or repeatedly reboot.
A buggy update that the company released early in the day turned the software’s formidable defenses against malicious software inward, prompting it to attack a vital component of Microsoft Windows. The update was available for business customers for about four hours before distribution was halted, McAfee said.
The damage was widespread: the University of Michigan’s medical school reported that 8,000 of its 25,000 computers crashed. Police in Lexington, Ky., resorted to hand-writing reports and turned off their patrol car terminals as a precaution. Some jails canceled visitation, and Rhode Island hospitals turned away non-trauma patients at emergency rooms and postponed some elective surgeries.
Intel was also hit by McAfee’s bungled update, a source inside the company confirmed to CNET. The source said that all Intel’s computers inside the United States ran McAfee and many were affected but didn’t know how many or whether it impacted the company’s factories.