WINDOWS XP sysadmins running Microsoft's anti-malware software received a shock this week when an update caused their systems to crash.
The first definitions update to Microsoft's System Centre Forefront Endpoint Protection since the Windows XP end of life date, which we discuss in the below video, held a nasty payload in a bug that crashed the program, due to changes in the mpengine dynamic link library.
Users of Microsoft Technet variously pointed fingers at malware, and of course suspicion naturally fell on Microsoft itself breaking compatibility after announcing it would no longer be responsible for ensuring it.
There was the odd voice of reason opposing that view. One user wrote, "Sir we cannot blame Microsoft because we've been told a year ago that their support [of] Microsoft Windows XP ends. April 15, 2014."
In reality, the problem came about due to a bug in the way the program handles behaviour monitoring, the service that scans networks for unusual behaviour patterns.
By disabling this service either through the interface, a registry hack in safe mode, or a group policy update, it is possible to keep using Endpoint.
Microsoft has confirmed that it will release a patch to fix the problem, but that has not stopped disgruntled users from suggesting that the "bug" was deliberate.
A recent report from Avast Antivirus said that 23.6 percent of its users would continue to use Windows XP, with 21 percent oblivious to the end of life cutoff. Just 15 percent planned to upgrade their operating systems and only five percent planned to upgrade their hardware. An overwhelming 85 percent of affected users said that they expected their anti-malware software to protect them. µ