A small error in Spanish anti-virus programme Panda’s latest update was recently discovered. The software began to identify parts of itself as malicious software and began to quarantine itself. This wouldn’t have been too much of an issue if it didn’t also classify critical Windows components as malware as well.
Panda users have been warned to avoid shutting down their systems while a new patch is issued. This is due to the fact that the anti-virus asking users to restart their computers remove malware; or in this case critical components for Windows Update, Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Office. While the company attempted to move quickly to prevent users from crippling their own systems, it was not fast enough for many.
In this case, most of the affected systems were running Panda Cloud Office Protection; meaning that offices and companies were the hardest hit. This Reddit thread has IT admins dealing from anywhere between 50 and 1000 computers that have all been affected.
Please, Don't reboot PCs. We’ll keep you posted.
— Panda Security (@Panda_Security) March 11, 2015
This is not the first time that an anti-virus has gone rogue and decided that harmless system files are secretly malicious actors. Kaspersky, Sophos, and Avira have all had the same issue at some point in the last couple of years. Panda has released a fix to undo the damage for those who missed the “do not restart” warning. That being said, some users are still experiencing problems with booting their computers into Safe Mode.
[Source: The Register]