Friday, February 12, 2010
Microsoft Says Malware Causing Blue Screen Crashes
Windows users began flooding Windows support forums this week, saying that their computers had been rendered unusable with a blue-screen-of-death (BSOD) error after installing Microsoft's February security updates, released Tuesday. On Thursday, Microsoft stopped shipping the MS10-015 update, which had been linked to the issue, and said it was investigating.
On Friday, Microsoft offered a preliminary conclusion, saying that malicious software may be to blame. "Malware on the system can cause the behavior," wrote Microsoft spokesman Jerry Bryant on a company blog. "We are not yet ruling out other potential causes at this time and are still investigating."
"We have confirmed cases where removing malware allows the system to boot," Bryant said in a Twitter message.
Windows XP user Patrick Barnes said he'd traced the issue to a malicious rootkit program known as TDSS that he found on one of his systems.
In a post to the Internet Storm Center, Barnes said that he'd identified a nonworking file on his system called atapi.sys. When he submitted the file for analysis it turned out to be the TDSS rootkit.
It may not be the only cause of the problem, however.
"From the reports I have been receiving, the infected atapi.sys is the most common cause of this blue screen," Barnes wrote in his post. "However, any driver that references the updated kernel bits incorrectly can also cause this blue screen."
Barnes posted repair instructions to his blog Friday, but the site was unavailable Friday morning Pacific Time. Security vendor Kaspersky Lab has released a standalone utility that removes the TDSS infection, however. pcworld