February 28, 2007 12:55 PM PST

Symantec incorrectly flags Yahoo Mail as a virus

Yahoo's e-mail service is not infected with a computer virus, despite a warning from Symantec that says it is.

Starting sometime on Tuesday, accessing the beta version of Yahoo Mail on a PC with Symantec's updated antivirus software caused alarm bells to go off. The security software reported finding the "Feebs" worm on the Yahoo Web pages.

That warning was in error, Symantec said Wednesday.

"Symantec antivirus products...triggered a false-positive alert with Yahoo Mail beta," Vincent Weafer, a senior director at Symantec Security Response, said in an e-mailed statement.

Symantec started receiving reports of the incorrect warnings Tuesday evening, after it had sent out the latest antivirus definitions for its products. Symantec issued updated definitions later in the evening to fix the mistake, Weafer said.

"Given the timeliness of the response and the limited number of products which would have used those (incorrect) definitions, we expect the impact of this to be very limited," Weafer said, adding that Symantec received about a dozen reports from people who saw the false warning.

While Symantec downplayed the issue, the SANS Internet Storm Center reported that multiple people have seen the Symantec warning appear on their PC. One CNET News.com reader in an alarmed e-mail wrote that Yahoo Mail appeared to be hacked.

Such errors happen occasionally with security software. For example, Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare in November warned that Google's Gmail contained a virus. Earlier last year, McAfee's security tools flagged Excel and other legitimate applications as viruses, and Symantec last summer identified a Church of England software program as spyware.

Typically, these errors can be fixed by updating the signature files in security applications. These signatures are the rules used by the security program to identify malicious software.

See more CNET content tagged:
Symantec Corp., Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Inc., antivirus software, virus

11 comments

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Is this really a mistake?
Given how excruciatingly slow Yahoo's new beta mail site is, is that really a mistake? Ok, admittedly Symantec got the name wrong, it's not a "Feebs" worm, but I would still tend to consider it malware of some type or other!
Posted by Hoser McMoose (182 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe call it ILLWARE well intentioned but broke.
but blame a lot of internet site havoc to DOS terrorism or extortion floods.

because the Internet (capital I, a registered trade Mark) is a cooperative, abuse of any member harms us all.
Posted by disco-legend-zeke (448 comments )
Link Flag
Is there any such thing as a 'computer virus'?
"Yahoo's e-mail service is not infected with a computer virus,
despite a warning from Symantec that says it is."

It seems to me that if there is such a thing as a computer virus, it
would have to affect more than just systems that are using
Microsoft software!
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Reply Link Flag
and... Windows Mail thinks DNCC fund raiser emails are phishing.
maybe bill is on to something here.

politics aside, at least it gets flagged and left on the inbox screen. Stuff dumped in the spam box can remain undiscovered untill my boredom level makes me read it.
Posted by disco-legend-zeke (448 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's why I love MS haters
They can blame Microsoft for everything and anything, even though this story has nothing to do with MS.
Posted by Jess McLean (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
happened to me
This happened to me this morning. I am glad it was a
false positive reading:)
Posted by yoyoyo33 (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Symantec actually makes a mistake??????????!!!!!!!
Symantec actually made a mistake, yes they are not perfect like they sometimes try to act like they are. Flagging something as popular as Yahoo Mail as a virus is quite embarrassing.
Posted by pentium4forever (192 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Symantec should...
Flag their own products as a virus. If you look at what a virus does and what Symantec's own products do it is very similar. They both mess up a system, they both consume resources, they both interfere with the day to day use of the system and on and on. The only real difference is the virus is free and Symantec's products aren't.

Robert
Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Buying Symantec is a mistake
Hmmmm? So, just because one company has bought up a whole bunch of security companies and puts their label on them, does this make their products good? No. Any dolt that bases their security purchase decision on one so-called end-to-end security solution provider gets what they deserve: over-spending and an insecure operation.

Surely, there are those IT buyers who must justify their over-inflated salaries and bloated budgets, so spending 100,000s of dollars on crap equipment and software plus their minions must attend to is a fair trade-off. Does all the automation really make them safer and compliant? If you ask me the jury is still out. Anybody heard when we'll all be able to stop worrying about network security? Shhhhh. Don't tell the Symantec stockholders: it's a joke.
Posted by Schratboy (122 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Symantec profiting from their "mistake"
If you Google yahoo and w23.feebs there is a sponsored result that comes up from none other than Symantec as follows:

Sponsored Links

Worm Attacks Yahoo E-Mail
Protect your PC with Norton
AntiVirus software. Download now!
www.symantec.com

Symantec should be apologizing for their error, not profiting from it. My opinion as a result of this is that Symantec no different than any other malware out there.
Posted by rth98122 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Symantec profiting from their
If you Google yahoo and w23.feebs there is a sponsored result that comes up from none other than Symantec as follows:

Sponsored Links

Worm Attacks Yahoo E-Mail
Protect your PC with Norton
AntiVirus software. Download now!
www.symantec.com

Symantec should be apologizing for their error, not profiting from it. My opinion as a result of this is that Symantec no different than any other malware out there.
Posted by rth98122 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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