Sophos antivirus snafu lingers on

The chaos caused to Sophos customers by a bad antivirus software update just keeps reverberating into its second week, with Sophos today providing more information on fixing the problem for both enterprise users and those with stand-alone computers.

The bad A/V update causes false positives for certain malware to occur on Windows-based computers, and Sophos indicated today it has not yet completed its investigation into how this incident occurred, though it has been issuing instructions online and by phone to users on how to "clean up" the situation. Sophos CEO Kris Hagerman also issued an abject apology to Sophos customers and business partners, admitting the backup of customer inquiries has been overwhelming.

BACKGROUND: Sophos admits bad update slamming its antivirus software customers

"While Technical Support volumes have started to significantly subside and hold queues have started to drop, I understand that our hold queues still remain larger than normal, and in some instances, callers have been unable to connect with us," said Hagerman in an apology issued Friday. "We are doing everything possible to address the queue as fast as we can; I assure you that our Sophos team members are eager to speak with you to get your case resolved swiftly."

Hagerman added that Sophos is "working on additional tools, videos, and resources to more effectively communicate the recommended steps for effective, efficient remediation. Many affected customers have reported that they have been able to fully recover from this situation based on the information provided."

Sophos made it clear that the customer chaos wrought by last week's bad A/V update is global in scope, with phone centers in the United Kingdom, U.S., Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Australia, Japan, Canada and Germany, among others, mobilizing to deal with the emergency caused by the bad software update.

"In our 25 year history, Sophos has never experienced an incident quite like this, and we are taking every effort to resolve this issue as fast as possible. Once we have made it past this critical stage of assisting our customers to get back to normal, we will then share our full and detailed explanation of the root cause analysis behind this incident and the steps we have implemented to prevent this in the future," Sophos CEO Hagerman said. "We owe this to you."

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: @MessmerE. Email:

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

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