Bullguard Antivirus on Windows x64 – Ouch!

So my Kaspersky license was nearing its 2 year end, and although I had no issues apart from the high Renewal cost (loyalty doesn’t count any more!), it was time to look around again. After much searching, I decided that I’d try out Bullguard on my PC and Laptop – partly based on the fact that this is a native 64-bit program (many AV programs have a mixed 32-bit GUI and 64-bit engine), and partly based on the license costs.

After an easy install and update process, I noticed that my Computer was a tad more sprightly than before, so a thumbs up straight away.

Next day, all was going well until about 4.45 pm when I was browsing for a free UML plugin for VB Express, and up popped a warning from Bullguard telling me that it had blocked a file that had been infected by Trojan.FakeAlert.5. Being curious, I googled for this Virus and found nothing much that I hadn’t seen before when searching for Viruses, except that I didn’t have any of the symptoms of the virus itself (no virus files to be found, no spurious registry entries etc.). Another few alerts started to get me thinking this was a problem with Bullguard so I logged a support call (which they say will take 1 hour to respond).

Within 30 minutes of googling, I found that the Bullguard forums were buzzing with a problem created by a bad update, and shortly afterwards a statement on the Bullguard website confirmed that it was their mistake.

The problem is, Bullguard had quarantined many files in the aftermath and disabled the Laptop and caused several problems on my PC. Others on the Internet have also been unfortunate with many people worldwide (thousands or possibly tens of thousands) having been affected by this issue with reports of Windows reinstalls having to be done.

Basically they issued an update yesterday afternoon, and from that point (until you download the next update which was published about an hour later), any 64-bit Windows PC will have reported nearly every .exe and.dll file as a virus – if you were one of the lucky ones, the file would then get quarantined; if you were unlucky, the file was deleted. Files included important system files and the anti-virus program itself (it’s quite bizarre having an Anti-Virus program reporting itself as having been infected by a Virus!).

However, Bullguard users are not the only ones affected – it seems that the Virus signature files are provided by Bitdefender, and their users seem to have been hit much worse than the Bullguard users, with talks in the Bitdefender forums of taking Class Action Lawsuits etc. It might sound extreme, and unlikely to happen in the UK, but when an Anti-Virus program is supposed to be protecting you from malicious damage to you computer, and stopping programs deleting or infecting important files on your computer, it is unthinkable that your Anti-virus program would do exactly that.

Ironically, I’ve been using Kaspersky for 2 years now and had no problems (slower than it could be, but not as slow as Norton, McAfee, Trend etc.), and I’d only had the program installed on trial for 1 day before the problems struck. When I agreed to use Bullguard on a trial basis, I expected the definition of “trial” to be a test or tryout, not an ordeal or burden. Some trial that’s turned out to be!

I’ve left Bullguard on one of the computers in the hope that nothing like this occurs again, in the meantime I’ll be trying out other software (but not Bitdefender :)).

If you’ve been affected by this issue, then checkout the advice on Bullguard’s status page – and good luck!

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