Last night, Symantec issued an update to its antivirus program that caused IE users some major headaches. Many IE users also using Symantec’s security programs to secure their PC ended up receiving errors like “IE has stopped working”.
Update: By the time you read this, Symantec (Norton) has issued a patch. It is recommended to update any of your Symantec products and IE will work again.
Faulty Norton Update To Blame
Earlier today/yesterday, depending on where you are in the world, Symantec issued a patch that was detecting a module in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as a malicious file and caused a crash whenever you launched the browser.
How did this happen?
Symantec’s Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) IPSeng32.dll uses “definitions”. Definitions allow the engine to detect malicious files, but sometimes false-positives occur that identify a harmless program as a malicious. That was the case here. Normally, a team of testers and quality assurance prevents such mistakes, but not this time.
Major IE Outage Caused By 3rd-Party Program
This outage was a global event with users all over the globe affected. Every business or home user who runs both IE and Norton was affected.
Norton is to blame for this mistake, not Microsoft. If you are not happy with Norton, now may be a time to switch your security provider, however Symantec is still one of the leading providers of anti-virus definitions and has been for the longest time. There are countless alternatives, but Norton is still in use by millions of businesses and home users.
A look at the latest antivirus market share shows that Symantec is slightly behind AVG in terms of market share but still among the top 3 commercial vendors (excluding Microsoft):
Avast, AVG, ESET, Avira, Kaspersky, McAfee and Bitdefender are the most common commercial alternatives.
It is a good idea to try various tools to see what software works for you. If Norton has worked fine for you so far, there’s no reason to switch now due to a single incident, but if Norton has been a constant issue for you, now may be the time to look at the alternatives.