Symantec sorry for software failure

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 May, 2007, 12:00am

Symantec, the world's largest security software maker, apologised for a software failure that caused many Chinese personal computers to malfunction last week, while leaving unclear the question of compensation.

'We regret any inconvenience caused to our customers,' Symantec said.

'Symantec is working with its affected customers to ensure all systems are recovered in a timely manner.

'[The company's] primary focus is to ensure it responds to all technical enquiries first and then non-technical enquiries will be responded to accordingly,' it said in response to the South China Morning Post's inquiry about compensation.

Some of Symantec's clients, mostly corporate users, have demanded compensation ranging from 100,000 yuan to several million yuan, according to the Chinese press.

Last Friday, an automatic update to simplified Chinese versions of Symantec's Norton antivirus software incorrectly identified as threats two files contained in Microsoft's Windows XP operating system and deleted them. That prevented PCs running XP from functioning properly and some users had to re-install portions of their operating system.

Symantec issued an update to correct the error about 41/2 hours after the incident.

'The update of Norton's virus database on Friday has caused millions of computers to crash, dealing a heavy blow to people's daily work and ongoing business,' Xinhua said on Sunday.

A post last Friday on the unofficial Chinese Internet Security Response blog put the number of affected computers at more than 7,000.

'It is difficult to estimate the number of systems that have been impacted but based on our best judgment and the analysis of information we are confident that the number of affected customers is nowhere near the estimates speculated by our competitors,' said Symantec.

The incident seemed limited to the mainland and the impact in Hong Kong should be minimal, according to Symantec.

Bug in the system

A post last Friday on the Chinese Internet Security Response blog put the number of affected PCs at more than: 7,000