Symantec update removes Web filtering program

An update for the company's Norton Antivirus software has yet again caused problems with its customers' computers.

While Symantec is saying it was just a mistake involving a routine software update, the problems caused by the mixup had likely cut off the Internet access of tens of thousands of customers of Solid Oak Software.

The company produces CyberSitter, a filtering program that prevents access to Web sites inappropriate for access in a public area or by young children. Symantec's update caused its virus software to delete or ban certain key files.

As a result of this action, those using the software suddenly found themselves unable to access any Web site at all. The problem, which occurred after last Monday's update, was not fixed until the end of the week.

What may be worse is this is the third time a Symantec update has caused problems with CyberSitter software. This latest problem led to an angry response from Solid Oak president Brian Millburn calling Norton products "worse than any virus I can think of," according to PC Magazine.

To its defense, Symantec said that it had moved the detection of the program from the "trackware" catagory to "parental controls." Since both are considered security risks, programs in these categories are closely monitored.

However, during the switch, the program was mistakenly identified as Bloodhound.unknown and blocked. The company gave instructions in how to restore Internet access, which included turning off the AutoProtect feature and installing the latest update that corrects the bug.

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