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November 15th, 2008

AVG Anti-virus Falsely Identified Adobe Flash As Malicious Days After Tagging Core Windows Component As Trojan

AVG, the popular anti-virus package, has recently falsely identified Adobe Flash as potentially malicious. The incident comes just days after some users of AVG were left with unusable Windows systems when AVG security scanner tagged a core Windows component, user32.dll, as Trojan. Less than a month ago AVG identified CheckPoint’s Zone Alarm as a Trojan.

Users of both AVG 7.5 and 8 (free and full editions) were hit on Sunday. AVG has admitted the problem and responded by posting advice on how to recover affected systems. The company has also updated its virus definition files to purge the false alarm detection on user32.dll from its virus signature database. Only 4 days after, users on AVG forums complained on Friday that Adobe Flash was detected by AVG’s scanner as malicious, following a recent update.

Explaining the latest issue, AVG said it had nothing to add to a statement issued on Thursday, before the Flash problem blew up, offering users affected by the Windows component snafu a free one-year license or license extension. “AVG Technologies apologizes again for the inconvenience caused to our customers and wishes to assure our users worldwide that the company is actively putting new processes in place to avoid similar occurrences in the future,” it said. A day later there’s another problem of the same type.

False alarms by anti-virus scanners have affected just about every security vendor at one time or another. The issue causes more inconvenience when Windows files are flagged as potentially malicious, as in this case with AVG, so its no surprise to find that AVG’s support forums ( are filling up with complaints.

These incident raise questions about the quality control regime for virus definition updates released by Czech-based AVG, best known for the popularity of the cut-down version it offers to consumers at no cost.

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