Antivirus software is supposed to protect you from having your PC trashed, but one dodgy update is all it takes to put your PC out of actions.
That's what happened to BitDefender customers this weekend after an update sent on Saturday resulted in key system files on 64-bit versions of Windows to be quarantines, resulting in an unbootable system.
BitDefender's support forums have been chocked with users both trying to find a solution to the problems caused by the update (this thread is 81 pages long) and trying to squeeze compensation out of the company for the trouble caused (this thread is 15 pages long).
Users are understandably angry, and many claim to have lost faith in the product. It's not surprising really given the scale of the damage caused to some systems. While some users had to reinstall their PCs completely from scratch in order to get back up and running, others had to pay to have their systems fixed. Others are likely to still be off-the-grid trying to figure out what to do next.
As failures go, this is a pretty big one,and it highlights the weakness of the way that antivirus software operates. It makes no sense that a piece of software designed to protect a PC could cripple it based on one bad update. What's worse is that it seems that the definition update pushed to users wasn't properly tested across all platforms, because if it was, this monumental error would have been spotted before user's PCs started dying.
I'm hearing that BitDefender is issuing refunds or extensions on licenses to affected customers asking for such remedies, but so far the company hasn't communicated this to all customers.
I encourage affected customers who can get onto the internet to get in touch with BitDefender tech support.