March 16, 2006 6:20 PM PST

Norton update kicks AOL users offline

An incorrect update to Symantec's Norton security software on Wednesday blocked Internet access for some America Online users.

The issue affected AOL customers using recent editions of Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security, Symantec said in a statement sent via e-mail on Thursday. The culprit was an update to intrusion prevention software that is part of the security software, the company said.

"This update incorrectly detected traffic patterns used as part of the AOL connection as a potential risk," Symantec said in the statement. AOL has about 20 million Internet service subscribers.

As a result of the incorrect update, AOL dial-up customers lost their connection and AOL broadband users were unable to access AOL servers, Symantec said. The erroneous update was removed from Symantec's servers about seven hours after it was released, and a corrected version was posted, the company said.

The Norton problem is the second high-profile problem with security software within a week. Last Friday an error in McAfee's virus definition file caused the company's consumer and enterprise antivirus products to flag Microsoft's Excel, as well as other applications on users' PCs, as a virus called W95/CTX.

Norton users who are experiencing problems can contact Symantec customer service at 1-800-927-3991 at no cost or read more on the issue at the company's Web site. Symantec advises users who are unable to go online because of the issue to disable their Norton software, connect to the Internet and immediately download updated definition files.

See more CNET content tagged:
America Online Inc., Symantec Corp., Norton Co., Time Warner Inc., Internet access

16 comments

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Finally...
...Symantec does something useful, but it couldn't even get this right. Why were only "some" AOL users kicked off? Why couldn't it be all of them?
Posted by JFDMit (180 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Norton
Is the worst virus software imaginable. I always get rid of that thing every time I reinstall my operating system.

Nothing but trouble.
Posted by blackwing837 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Norton has been junk.....
.... for at least the last 8 years. But Symantec will milk the name for
a long time yet
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
How do you know, when you get rid of it...?
How can you tell something like then, when you "get rid of that"?

It is something like, "Chocolate isn't that nice, and because of that, I never eat it!!!".
Posted by vvlada (4 comments )
Link Flag
I fail to see the downside here
Honestly, I'm trying really hard...why is this a bad thing?
Posted by eppb12 (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Heuristics have come a long way.
I am glad to see Norton taking some initiative.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Kudos Symantec
I know this will get beat like a dead horse, but the force/power of Christ compels me to say it. Most traffic (not 100%) from AOL is probably considered malicious by most savvy computer users. Also, most (not all) AOL subscribers are detrimental to us non-AOL users whether they intend to be or not. Many AOL users are "newbies" to computers and/or the internet. They are the ones who get phished, download spyware, and unwittingly transmit viruses via email and the like. Much like the other repliers, I see the blocking of AOL traffic and its users as a good thing. Like that one reply said, heuristics have come a long way. Symantecs software was able to correctly identify AOL and its users as a security risk. :-p
Posted by Ignotus (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Only by liuck....
Symantec isn't that smart to do it deliberately.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
doing us all a favor
it's about time norton security software did something effective to keep the net safe.
Posted by sadchild (280 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And in other news...
The internet for the first time in over a decade was quiet, peaceful and temporarily free of idiots.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Reply Link Flag
As the old saying goes...
"No good deed goes unpunished."

:)
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
That's why I recommend AVG
That's why I recommend AVG. Norton has the highest detection rate of viruses and such according to many tests I've read in tech magazines. However, AVG does a pretty darn good job and has less problems for end users. Oh, and it's cheaper too----FREE.
Posted by pentium4forever (192 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's not just AOL users getting bumped
It was time for me to upgrade my Norton's Antivirus so last week I purchased it from a local store (I will not do the automatic renewals online or download from online).

I installed it and everything was fine until I ran the first virus scan and it locked me out of the internet. Uninstalling Norton's Antivirus did not help I had to actually go back to a restore point.

After going thru this twice in an attempt to get it to work, I gave up and bought McAfee Antivirus just last night and now I am good to go with no problems.

To bad I did not hear of this problem with Norton's until today, would have saved me $35.00.
Posted by Ceenedra (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
btw....
Forgot to mention.. I dont use AOL, I have a local ISP (hence the title of my post).

Anyway even though I removed Norton's entirely from my PC, my network card was hijacked by something Norton's did. I could not for the life of me figure out what it did to it. That is why I had to then do a system restore in order to get the internet back.
Posted by Ceenedra (2 comments )
Link Flag
always did
norton has alwaws conflicted with aol as long as they have been MaCafee for their anti v and fire W. aol will tell you not to use norton.
Posted by simsm7 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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