False Positive from Avast Labeled Steam as a Virus

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News Posted: Mon, Feb 6 2012 4:00 PM
Security software maker Avast sike'd out scores of Steam users over the weekend when its antivirus program identified the gaming platform as being infected with a Trojan virus. Gamers flocked to Steam's forums in the wee hours of the morning last night trying to figure if the warning was a false positive, which is exactly what it turned out to be.

"There was a very brief false positive issue which was corrected in 1.5 hours," a spokesperson for Avast told The Register.


False positives are an annoying, albeit largely necessary side-effect of keeping malware at bay. Typically, however, virus scanners are pretty good about not identifying safe and popular programs like Steam as potential viruses, but every once in awhile it happens, particularly if your security settings err on the side of caution.

"I was about to zero my HDD and start over! Updated Avast, backed up game caches, re-installed Steam. Everything works again," a gamer posted on Steam's forums.

To anyone who was/is affected by this, you should update your Avast definitions. You might also need to reinstall Steam if the accompanying executable was quarantined or deleted.
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karanm replied on Mon, Feb 6 2012 4:13 PM

I have Avast on all my machines and it works great, easily the best free anti-virus software available in my opinion.

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I believe the word you're groping for (blindly) is "psyched." According to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Sike a "sike" is a gutter or stream.

Mind you, I know the Urban Dictionary says it's a synonym for "psyched," but then almost everything in the Urban Dictionary is there because illiterates can't be arsed to look up words they have only heard, and never read.

Regardless, I abandoned Avast and AVG when MSE started giving me better results with a smaller footprint. This makes me happy that I did so.

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zybch replied on Mon, Feb 6 2012 6:09 PM

Avast is garbage. Its so big and bloated now its probably better off just being infected than having your PC run like molasses when you have avast (or AVG) installed.

Since Microsoft Security Essentials came out, the other anti-everything vendors have started shooting themselves in the foot as they add more and more unnecessary cruft to their anti-virus apps in order to compete in a market they're not needed in any more.

They had a long free ride, but now that MS has a great scanner for free that doesn't constantly annoy the users with self-justifying popups, scareware and alerts they are panicking.

On the other hand, the new symantec scanner is quite good, especially considering the last few versions that chopped 1/2 the speed off your computer.

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Feb 6 2012 8:15 PM

False positives can pop up anywhere and it's usually up to the virus company to resolve it; in that case, they did well; it was somewhat quick and adimant.

I don't use Avast (I'm using MSE, Avast is okay but it feels bloated.) but it's always nice when virus companies work to resolve issues before they become major ones.

 

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realneil replied on Mon, Feb 6 2012 10:05 PM

@zybch: In one post you call AVAST garbage, big, and bloated and Symantec "Quite Good"?

Symantec is closer to a virus than most viruses are.

Break-time is over. Get back to your desk at Norton.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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zybch replied on Mon, Feb 6 2012 11:34 PM

Realjerk - I said the NEW symantec one is quite good, especially compared to the drek they've pumped out for the past decade. Unless you've actually used it STFU.

I still wouldn't let it anywhere near my PC though. MSE is more than enough protection and doesn't rely on scare messages to get you to pay up for extra 'protection' services you don't need like pretty much every other anti-virus does.

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realneil replied on Mon, Feb 6 2012 11:57 PM

I haven't used the new version because I learned hard on the old versions. They sucked in every way and you know what they say, once bitten twice shy.

I've spent years removing it from people's PC's and will probably continue to do so. I may have overreacted to your original statement and for that I'm sorry.

Telling me to STFU is useless,...that will never happen. I'm an opinionated kinda guy.

It will take me reading a whole lot of positive commentary from a lot of sources before I would even consider Norton again, and as you said, MSE (and AVAST) are free and they work well.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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zybch:
Avast is garbage. Its so big and bloated now its probably better off just being infected than having your PC run like molasses when you have avast (or AVG) installed.

Avast is highly regarded - not just here, but on many forums. I invite you to cite your sources...

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This is why I founded the site False Positive Report at - http://falsepositivereport.org .

The idea here is TRANSPARENCY of this huge false positive problem. I wanted to expose what us small (and large) software developers have been going through for *years*. That is, multiple, repeated, false positives on not only our software, but even our web sites! Of course, users are obviously affected as well. Especially if you remember the infamous svchost.exe false positive by one corporation that shut down (millions?) of PCs worldwide, many corporate workstations as I understood it. The mistakes have been .. well, embarrassing. The security industry is trying to better, some more than others. Support those with the LOWEST false positive rate. I won't say who has that rate, as then I'll appear biased, but .. go do your research.

I would like to add that *some* (not all) security companies don't mind false positives so much because they 'scare' the user into purchasing additional or updated protection, OR to validate to the user that their security software is 'doing something'.

Now, that's the 'bad ones' in the security industry. Fortunately, most are responsible corporations. I am not speaking of Avast in this comment, I really don't know their false positive rate to be honest. I do, however, know, that many companies try their best to scare you into buying protection.

The truth is that, in most cases, modern malware slips right by, being one week ahead ;o. As for rating their sites, well they change sites all the time, so they don't care. The harm done to innocent *legitimate* small and medium size businesses is unknown, but has to be substantial.

Sadly, I, and others, haven't had the time to promote the site. I knew from the start, as a non-profit, totally uncommercial ($0) site, it would need volunteers to run as I have my own one-man business that keeps me absurdly busy.

 

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