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back to article Avast false alarm hits Steam's weekend gamers

Freebie anti-virus scanner Avast falsely identified an executable associated with the popular Steam gaming platform as a Trojan on Sunday. The snafu, which persisted for around 90 minutes, meant that SteamService.exe was wrongly identified as a Trojan (specifically Trojan-gen) and sent to quarantine. Judging by posts on Steam …

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Trollface

...was it so wrong, though?

...just askin'...

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Not so wrong, I'd say. DRM schemes like Steam are only distinguishable from malware by the fact that users voluntarily (to various degrees) submit themselves to it. Avast can't be expect to know that, so an alert is certainly appropriate, although quarantining it straight away was probably overkill.

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Boffin

Coincidence?

That this occurred on the protest weekend?

(up to 30,000 HL fans protested at the lack of comms from Valve re: HL3, though only 13,000 actually turned up)

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Comodo much, much worse for false positives, they never fix some

I've been reporting the same false positives to Comodo for a couple of years now, with no improvement at all. Some of them are ancient Atari ST *source code* archives, in ST formats. Data files nothing could mistake for executables!

Can't even reliably exclude them from scanning because the useless bloody program keeps resetting its exclusion lists in far too many updates and rarely takes any notice of my attempts to exclude them anyway.

If it hammered my CPU as much as the alternatives I'd dump it in a flash, AVG had a wonderful habit of sucking 100% of every core from time to time. So bad it could take 10's of minutes to shut down - always surprised me how few times I borked the file system just hard resetting instead of waiting.

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Happy

@Paul

YMMV but I find Avast to be pretty effective as an AV solution.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm

Was this on Winblows machines only?

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm

Does the Mac version of Steam have a SteamService.exe? I'm going to go with no.

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Anonymous Coward

Probably

As most Mac users I know are too smug to admit they need AV in the first place.

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Had to uninstall steam but then couldn't get it reinstalled. Hours of faffing about and now I have to redownload all my games :(

The same update also tanked some of the adobe runtime software but reinstalling that was easy

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Anonymous Coward

When you're done re-downloading, right-click on a game in your library and choose 'Backup', select all your games and crack in a removable hard disk.

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Several years ago I switched to Avast from AVG and encouraged others who had no AV to do so as well. Then late one night an Avast update detected every .exe as a virus. Fortunately it was late and nobody else I know had caught the update otherwise I would have been very busy. It was corrected the next day but such a mess up bruised my faith in them. Later on I switched to MSE and I install it on any AV free PC I work on. It's served me quite well.

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Faffing about?

Or you could have just gone into the virus vault and restored steamservice.exe like i did!

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Boffin

No big deal

Or just set your Avast to ask you what to do with malware/virii when they're encountered. Simple matter of "allow to run unsandboxed" and you're golden. Unless you're purposely trolling malware/virii infesting things, you'd rarely see a popup asking what to do anyway. Saves a lot of headache for false positives.

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Facepalm

At that stage it wasn't obvious that it was a false positive. If you just restore anything your AV detects as a virus, what is the point in having anti-virus protection?

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Trollface

Our anti-virus was working just fine...

...until it took an arrow in the knee!

Someone had to say it.

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No. No they didn't.

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Nice response time from the people at Avast!, competitors take note.

As for the 'damage' done, the file was moved to the vault, where it is very easy to restore by a mere right-click.

Also Steam is perfectly capable of holding it's own. It enters an update mode when SteamService.exe is missing while you attempt to start Steam. Allowing it to 'update' restores SteamService.exe, no data lost.

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Avast & co

Ja I had noticed problems at the weekend everytime I wanted to play Deus Ex. When I opened Steam up came the Update bar. I did wonder why after the third time.

Steam could also do its users the favour of getting some serious servers up & running. When one sees how long it takes for a relatively small file to down load, I am reminded of the days of floppy discs 5,5!!!! Not really anywhere good enough in this day & age I think personally. When you have the number of games as I have stuck there you can be at it for literally hours. PLEASE TAKE NOTE STEAM!!!

As to Freebees & Av you get what you pay for. As in most things in life.

I use Bit Defender & have NEVER had a problem with them. Well just Firefox seems unable to provide add-ons straight away when updating. That though is another problem & off topic, sorry.

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