Microsoft this morning scrambled to release a fix after reports surfaced that its Security Essentials software was mistakenly identifying the Google Chrome browser as password-stealing malware — and removing the competing web browser from Windows machines.
Ed Bott of ZDNet has the rundown, including details on the updated definitions that Microsoft says will address the problem.
The false positive caused a stir among Chrome users, as reflected in this thread on the Chrome forums, starting with this post …
I have been using Chrome on my office PC for over a year. This morning, after I started up the PC, a Windows Security box popped up and said I had a Security Problem that needed to be removed. I clicked the Details button and saw that it was “PWS:Win32/Zbot”. I clicked the Remove button and restarted my PC. Now I do not have Chrome. It has been removed or uninstalled. The Chrome.exe file is gone. Was there really a problem, or is this just a way for Microsoft to stick it to Google? If I reinstall Chome, will it have my bookmarks and other settings? Not sure what to do about this, but I much prefer Chrome to Explorer.
That question about bookmarks and settings is a critical one. Even after issuing the fix, Microsoft could have some very angry Chrome users on its hands.
Update, 11:57 a.m.: Here’s Microsoft’s statement …
On September 30th, 2011, an incorrect detection for PWS:Win32/Zbot was identified and as a result, Google Chrome was inadvertently blocked and in some cases removed from customers PCs. We have already fixed the issue — we released an updated signature (1.113.672.0) at 9:57 am PDT — but approximately 3,000 customers were impacted. Affected customers should manually update Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) with the latest signatures. To do this, simply launch MSE, go to the update tab and click the Update button, and then reinstall Google Chrome. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused our customers.