Dave Courbanou

October 4, 2011

2 Min Read
Microsoft Security Essentials Flags Google Chrome as Trojan

Oops. Microsoft’s Security Essentials has accidentally flagged Google’s Chrome browser as a security risk. Microsoft has remedied the solution, but what does this say about the state of affairs in the PC world? Here’s a little perspective on the mishap …

For the uninitiated, Microsoft Security Essentials is Microsoft’s antivirus/antimalware software, specifically designed to be lightweight for Windows machines. It’s also free, making it an easy choice if offerings from Symantec or McAfee aren’t your style. The tradeoff? Apparently, it has some odd quirks. According to a Google Chrome support forum, Microsoft Security Essentials accidentally marked Chrome as “PWS:Win32/Zbot.” The problem is, the user won’t realize this is really the Chrome.exe until the user submits to fix the security issue, reboots and finds that Chrome has disappeared.

Microsoft has remedied the solution, but to those unlucky enough to have experienced this, Microsoft has apologized and asked that they simply reinstall Chrome. Unfortunately, Google suggests the same thing. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not really a big deal for an individual, but Microsoft Security Essentials is free for businesses up to 10 individuals, so there may be a few small-business IT admins who will end up wasting time reinstalling Chrome.

Still, it throws into question what Microsoft — and Google, for that matter — are doing behind the scenes. Why would Chrome show up as a trojan, and more importantly, why would Microsoft’s software detect it as such? I’m not suggesting wide-scale browser-based conspiracies, but how many users are out there now running Internet Explorer, completely unaware? Hmmm.

If you’re a small-business VAR affected by this, chime in and let us know. Even if you weren’t, what security software do you prefer? Does Microsoft Security Essentials get the job done or does this mishap, and other potential issues with Microsoft’s free offering, have you choosing a different product altogether?

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