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Norton Internet Security antivirus update 'borke Internet Explorer'


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#1 NickAu

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 04:23 PM

 

Users of the world's second best* browser were forced to use alternatives after an overnight update to Norton AntiVirus prevented Internet Explorer from working at all.

Aggrieved users who'd thought far enough ahead to install Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or any of the other alternatives took to Norton's official forum to vent their spleens.

"Sometime this evening, IE11 started crashing. In fact, it crashed an already-open browsing session, and now trying to start it up just instantly causes a 'Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working' error," wrote support forum contributor Sunfox, sparking an 11-page thread.

Forumites shortly figured out that an update to Norton Internet Security 360 had broken something critical relating to IE, with monkeynuts posting:

I have uninstalled NIS and IE started working. Then reinstalled NIS, and once the patch was deployed IE started crashing again.

Tales of woe, heartbreak and downloads of new browsers spread, until about 0400 GMT, at which point a member of Symantec staff posted: "Kindly run manual live update (right click on Norton icon on tray notification area > 'Run live update ')," helpfully adding "Kindly stop using work-arounds."

At which point all seemed to be well, judging by the forum posts from then on. Various Reg readers whose machines had auto-updated overnight then wrote to us to let us know what had happened.

El Reg has contacted Symantic, owners of the Norton brand, for comment and will update this story if we hear back from them.

Users still affected by the snafu are advised to re-run Norton LiveUpdate. ®

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/21/norton_antivirus_update_kills_internet_explorer/

 

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 04:32 PM

Norton forums: IE Problem Fixed
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#3 Aura

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 05:11 PM

It seems like a lot of "hate" ensused from this incident with Norton Antivirus if I judge by the comments on the thread posted by quietman. Internet Explorer is widely used in company, and so is Norton products, I guess a lot of people lost time and money with that issue.

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#4 quietman7

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 05:31 PM

Not as much lost time and money as when an anti-virus borks the OS.
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#5 Sintharius

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 08:20 PM

It's not just Norton Internet Security... Symantec Endpoint Protection and Norton Anti-Virus are all affected.

But things happen.

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#6 quietman7

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 09:04 PM

At least they were quick to fix it.
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#7 Sintharius

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 09:39 PM

quietman7, I was wondering why they didn't pull the botched update when they heard of the trouble... instead they just keep pushing it out and affecting more victims.

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#8 quietman7

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 09:45 PM

I wouldn't be privy to that information. Most likely I suspect releasing the fix was easier.
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#9 Aura

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 01:46 AM

I would go with that as well. Sometimes it's easier to release a fix rather than remove an update, like Microsoft does sometimes.

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#10 quietman7

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 07:30 AM

Other anti-virus vendors have done the same in the past.
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#11 Scoop8

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 08:57 AM

Fortunantly, Firefox and Chrome weren't affected.  I used Firefox for a couple of hours Sat morning (U.S. CT) until the issue was fixed.

 

The problem began when Symantec issued a routine LiveUpdate definitions download, apparently sometime during the evening of Fri 02/20 U.S. time. 

 

The update affected the main AV suites, N360, NIS, and NS, and affected most IE versions (if not all). 

 

For many users, the problem began to be fixed yesterday 02/21 around 6am U.S. CT when Symantec begin distributing a repair update.  That's when I download their update fix for the issue.

 

There may be a few Norton customers that either haven't received (or downloaded) the repair update or perhaps the rollout hasn't yet reached their geographical locations.

 

My take on this issue is that the communication issue is important when things like this happen.  There were a lot of members that uninstalled/installed their AV, used Restore Points, etc.  I was thinking about restoring from an Image but decided to run Firefox until they fixed the problem.

 

I have to admit that my AV wasn't the first suspect when my IE11 became inaccessible.  "It's never too late to learn something" :)

 

 

I posted this in the Norton Forum thread that quietman7 linked:

 

 

Communication is important.   In the aftermath of the IE issue, that would be my #1 item to place in Symantec's Suggestion Box

 

- When an issue is known that affects a significant percentage of its customer base, deploy a blanket e-mail in addition to a message that will display either in the Dashboard or the customer's System Tray area.  This notifies the customer base to avoid PC resets, Restore Points, Uninstalls, Image-restorations, etc.

 

- The other excellent suggestion was mentioned several times by other members in the original thread:  Look into a LiveUpdate "rollback" option, if it's possible to integrate that into the current products.  This can be significant in assisting members in the future where Restore Points, Image-restorations may not point the customer in the right direction of the problem.

 

 

I thought about posting a "poll" thread over there to see what the regular members thought about grading now Norton handled the issue.  My own take on it:

 

- Recovery Speed/Repair of issue

 

I give them a "B+" for this one since it did occur on a Fri evening (U.S. time) heading into a weekend and that, I'd guess, affected the repair time.

 

Communication:

 

"C-"   This is where I think they may have been able to handle things better but I know nothing about what's involved in deploying some kind of a Dashboard/Sys Tray message.  That may not be practical.

 

Where I don't cut them as much slack is the e-mail tool where they could have sent a blanket e-mail to the customer base.  Having said that, I also know nothing about what's entailed since I imagine Norton's worldwide customer base is rather large.

 

Norton did post a notification on their product site but from what I've read about it, the notice appeared there several hours after the problem appeared.  I admit I didn't think to check Norton's home site for any information about the issue at that time.

 

My take on my N3360's performance on 2 Win 7x64 PC's and my Mom's XP PC still rates high.  I've had no issues (or malicious intrusions) with Norton until this occurrence since I switched to N360 in November '12.

 

Human nature being what it is :lol: ,  I probably graded Norton too tough but this one affected a lot of their customer base.



#12 quietman7

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 09:05 AM

Norton did post a notification on their product site but from what I've read about it, the notice appeared there several hours after the problem appeared.  I admit I didn't think to check Norton's home site for any information about the issue at that time.

Some vendors will do that but it is not always obvious. Another place for such information is the vendor's blog. However, IMO they should all post something official on the forums which they seldom do.
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#13 Scoop8

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 09:20 AM

Agree completely about the "forum" point.  These forums are a powerful source of information for many PC-related issues.  That's how I learned about the Norton issue as that forum's one of my daily morning visit sites (along with this one :) ).

 

When I saw a thread with about 450 posts with the "IE11 crashed" title on Sat morning, I knew that the problem was with my AV.  That saved me time and unnecessary troubleshooting activities.

 

It also illustrates a good point that article that NickAu quoted.... not the part about "venting" :lol:  but the part that was mentioned in the linked UK article about having an alternative browser installed as it can come in handy as a troubleshooting tool to eliminate an issue with one's primary browser.



#14 quietman7

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 09:30 AM

Yes, back up...back up...back up... even applies to your browser,
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#15 Scoop8

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 09:42 AM

wapld5.jpg

 

I was late to that party (installing a 2nd browser).  I finally did that last fall and it's paid off a few times during that time during general troubleshooting steps.






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