March 9, 2006

Perhaps They Should Have Tested More - Trend Micro


Fix Thyself

Trend Micro's new antivirus update crashes thousands of PCs, demonstrates the need for testing
Trend Micro in April pushed out a faulty antivirus software update that sucked up all the processor cycles in Windows XP SP2 machines and caused many of them to fail. The antivirus software vendor should make restitution for such a fundamental and egregious error.
May 12, 2005 - By Tim Wilson

Every entry-level programmer knows the secret to writing good software: Test, test, test. That's why we were blown away when Trend Micro--an established antivirus software vendor--published an update of its product suite that brought thousands of Windows XP machines to a sudden halt.
On April 22, Trend Micro pushed out updates of its OfficeScan, PC-cillin and several server antivirus products to hundreds of customers, principally those in Japan, where the company has a large client base. Many organizations trust their antivirus vendors to send updates directly to end users' computers, without those updates being vetted or tested by the local IT department, to speed the installation process.

But this time, the update contained a faulty pattern file that sucked up all the processor cycles in Windows XP SP2 and caused the affected PCs to crash. Japanese IT managers traced the problem back to the Trend Micro software, and the vendor pulled the updates after about 90 minutes. But the damage had been done: Hundreds of IT staffers across the country worked the weekend to fix the thousands of damaged machines.

With so many good technologies available for software testing, packaging and distribution, such a blunder is unforgivable. Trend Micro should not only make restitution to its customers for their lost time, it also should eat crow for failing to meet its primary objective: keeping its customers' PCs up and running.