ESET security update crashes PCs

A flawed update to ESET’s virus definitions has caused major trouble for users of the security software.

ESET security update crashes PCs

ESET rolled out the update earlier this week, but has since been forced to issue a series of fixes after users reported seeing a warning of an error in “ekrn.exe”, which is the key process at the centre of ESET’s NOD32 and Smart Security systems.

“Other reported issues include ekrn crashing, systems not responding and threat notifications with blank name fields,” ESET said.

I spend too much time fighting spyware and viruses to worry about fighting the software that is supposed to prevent them

The company advised users to restart their machines, update any ESET products, and then restart again. If the issue isn’t solved, ESET advised customers to uninstall and reinstall the software. For business customers, ESET issued a utility tool to help clean up the problem.

ESET said it was still waiting to hear back from its developers about the cause of the problem, and didn’t yet have data on how many users were affected.

A moderator on the ESET forums stressed that updates are tested before being released. “It was a combination of several factors that led to the issues,” the moderator said. “I can assure you that the necessary measures will be taken to minimise the possibility of severe issues occurring after automatic updates.”

Such assurances weren’t enough to calm customers, who turned to those same forums to vent their anger. “I have spent the entire day remedying this problem,” said one user. “I almost got fired for it.”

“I promise ESET that they will get fired if anything like this ever happens again,” the customer added. “I spend too much time fighting spyware and viruses to worry about fighting the software that is supposed to prevent them.”

Others reported thousands of corporate servers being knocked offline because of the flaw. “We are a Fortune 50 company with NOD32 running on approximately 3,000 servers for our customer base,” said another forum poster. “Having this many servers drop left and right requiring hard resets multiple times while your phones are ringing off the hook is not a fun experience.”

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