Monday, October 3, 2011

Software clash - the case for a single-source

Something very interesting happened this past week.

Microsoft declared Google's Chrome browser to be a piece of malware and suggested people delete it.

Was this a cunning ploy to try and promote Internet Explorer as the best browser?

No, it was a simple human snafu that resulted in the kind of software clash nobody likes to contemplate.

It seems that Microsoft Security Essentials was updated with an erroneous signature which happened to match that for Google Chrome and, acting on that errant information, some users were mistakenly told by MSE that their computers were now infected with the Win32/Zbot piece of malware, renowned for stealing login details and credit card numbers.

Microsoft quickly posted an advisory detailing their mistake but by then it was too late for some users who'd already acted on MSE's recommendations and obliterated Chrome from their PCs.

Unfortunately, in a world where multiple software vendors are competing for a slice of your IT spend, such clashes are occasionally inevitable and I'm sure this won't be the last.

It is interesting that the new model for software distribution, as used by Apple for those wishing to buy iPhone apps, is to vet each and every program before it's released for sale. Once given this "seal of approval" and made available for purchase, customers can buy with a slightly increased level of confidence that major clashes won't occur.

I say "slight increase" because, as we've seen, even this model of software distribution is not infallible.

While Microsoft's blunder was surely accidental, there can be no doubt that it will likely result in a benefit to the company, within a market that may now be more inclined to use a browser they could expect to be more compatible with their operating system -- because it's from the same vendor.

For those who acted on MSE's directives, Google has announced that it will be releasing a "fixup" that should restore affected systems to their previous configuration.

System administrators will likely now be adding up the cost of "putting things right" and whether they reconsider the use of MSE and Google Chrome (or any 3rd-party product) as bed-partners on their systems.

No comments:

Post a Comment