Microsoft’s Security Essentials anti-malware tool has mistakenly identified Google Chrome as a password-pilfering trojan — and actually removed the browser from many users’ machines — but a fix for this rather amusing false positive is now available.
In an email sent to Wired, a Microsoft spokesperson said that on Friday, Chrome was inadvertently identified as a member of the Zeus malware family (aka “PWS:Win32:Zbot”). As a result, Security Essentials is blocking the Google browser and, in some cases, removing it. But earlier today, Microsoft released an updated signature that fixes the snafu. The company urges those using Microsoft Security Essentials to update the tool with the latest signatures, and it apologies for any inconvenience.
Google declined to comment on the matter Friday morning, but a company spokesperson has since pointed us to a blog post where the company says that over the next 24 hours, it will release an update that will automatically repair Chrome for those affected by Microsoft’s false positive.
“If you’re unable to launch Chrome or load new web pages, then you may be affected,” Google’s post reads.
The company also provides detailed instructions on how to fix problems without the update.
Chrome users began complaining about the problem early this morning in Google’s help forums. “I have been using Chrome on my office PC for over a year. This morning, after I started up the PC, a Windows Security box popped up and said I had a Security Problem that needed to be removed,” read the first complaint. “I clicked the Remove button and restarted my PC. Now I do not have Chrome.”