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Microsoft wrongly alerts Gmail as virus

A “false positive” result from Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare security software wrongly flagged Google’s Gmail service as a virus over the weekend.

A “false positive” result from Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare security software wrongly flagged Google’s Gmail service as a virus over the weekend.

Microsoft launched the Windows Live OneCare safety scanning service worldwide in August, less than three months after its US debut. OneCare brings together anti-virus and anti-spyware scanning, clean-up and tools aimed at boosting PC performance by defragmenting the hard drive.

But a string of posts on the Windows OneCare online forum and the Gmail help discussion group on Friday and over the weekend revealed that OneCare was producing virus alerts when users opened their Gmail accounts. A pop-up window appeared, saying that Windows Live OneCare had detected the BAT/BWG.A virus.

One user told the OneCare forum that the problem recurred with Gmail, despite a virus clean-up. “I have cleaned the drive and rescanned with no problems being detected, but it comes back as soon as I go to gmail,” forum poster drzeller said.

Google Groups poster JimmyJoker reported that he had deleted all his saved and archived e-mails after receiving advice from Windows Live OneCare technical support that the problem related to his Gmail account. “Two years of carefully saved stuff is gone,” he said.

Microsoft is understood to have resolved the problem on Sunday evening, by introducing new antivirus signatures to avoid the “false positive” result.

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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