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Compensation Possible for Faulty Norton Update
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Symantec Corp, the world's biggest security software maker, will consider compensating Chinese users for a faulty update to its Norton anti-virus software, that paralyzed thousands of computers since last Friday, company officials said yesterday.

"We are now focusing on helping our clients restart their computers, and will consider other issues once that work is finished," said Vincent Weafer, senior director of Symantec's security response team, when asked whether the company would offer compensation to users.

Symantec sent out an automatic update to Chinese versions of its Norton line of anti-virus software on Friday. The update identified two critical files of Microsoft Corp's XP operating system as malicious codes and deleted them, which prevented some users from restarting their computers and even reinstalling their operating systems.

Symantec sent a fix for the update an hour later and the issue was resolved three and a half hours later, the company said.

It said it's difficult to estimate how many users were affected. The Xinhua News Agency had reported millions of users had suffered. Rising Corp Ltd, a local anti-virus software maker, said more than 7,000 Norton users had contacted it.

Some of Symantec's clients, mostly corporate users, have demanded compensation ranging from 100,000 yuan to several millions of yuan, according to earlier reports. The company kept mum on the matter the past week.

Symantec is one of the major players in China's corporate anti-virus market, accounting for about 7 percent of the market by the end of last year, according to Analysys International, a Beijing-based IT consultancy.

The problem was caused by a change in an automated process used by the company's security response team to detect malware, said Weafer, adding the automated processes have run successfully before.

The company said the problem only affected a patched version of Simplified Chinese Windows XP and only users on the mainland were affected.

(China Daily May 24, 2007)

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