Windows Black Death: Malware, Not Microsoft, At Fault?
Initially, critics blamed Microsoft for a Black Screen of Death (BSOD) issue that has plagued Windows 7, Vista and XP in recent weeks. But Microsoft points to malware as the potential cause of the problem. Here’s the blow-by-blow.
Early reports wondered if recent Microsoft service packs and code fixes caused the problem. Microsoft soon told PCWorld.com that they were investigating the issue, but the software giant couldn’t confirm or deny a cause of the BSOD problems.
By Dec. 2, the story became a little clearer. That’s when a UK security company Prevx, (who initially claimed to have the fix) said Microsoft had no wronging; Microsoft’s official blog said so too. PCWorld covered the hype with another story pointing to misguided “fear, uncertainty and doubt.”
The Real Culprit
So what are the guts of the problem? Turns out changes to the Access Control List (ACL) were the issue. Basically, the ACL is a list of permissions for a logged-on user and it directly interacts with registry keys. Some of those keys are responsible for creating desktop features and enabling installed applications to install properly. But Microsoft’s official word says that the issue was with certain malware. Here’s the bottom line from the blog:
We’ve also checked with our worldwide Customer Service and Support organization, and they’ve told us they’re not seeing “black screen” behavior as a broad customer issue. Because these reports were not brought to us directly, it’s impossible to know conclusively what might be causing a “black screen” in those limited instances where customers have seen it. However, we do know that “black screen” behavior is associated with some malware families such as Daonol
Overall, seems like a classic case of rumors running rampant on the Internet. It’s nothing new, but it’s always good when the hype calms down and the dust settles. So at the end of the day, mass hysteria is really nothing to worry about.
Were you affected? Let us know.