January 29, 2018 // 10:52 a.m.
Security firm Malwarebytes has apologised for an update released over the weekend which caused its anti-malware software to block access to legitimate websites and spike CPU and memory usage to the point of making systems entirely unusable.
Released on Saturday as part of the company's continuous protection update cycle and installed automatically without user interaction, the software updates had a two-pronged effect on systems: Selected entirely innocent web services were rendered inaccessible, and the Malwarebytes anti-malware engine began demanding an unsustainable amount of system memory - leaving, customers have claimed, devices with low memory entirely unusable due to continuous virtual memory paging to disk.
'Earlier this morning, we published a protection update that caused connection issues for many of our customers,' Malwarebytes warned in a blog post published on Saturday. 'As a side effect of the web protection blocks, the product also spiked memory usage and possibly caused a crash. We have triaged this issue and pushed a protection update that resolves it.'
Those running older versions of Malwarebytes are advised to disable the web protection subsystem, manually update to Malwarebytes 3 version 1.0.3803 or Malwarebytes 2.x v2018.01.27.12 or later, and restart their systems before re-enabling the web protection subsystem. Users whose systems are affected badly enough by the memory leak issue to make opening Malwarebytes to disable the web protection subsystem impossible have reported success by booting the system into Safe Mode, uninstalling Malwarebytes altogether, rebooting normally then installing the latest release from the official website.
'The root cause of the issue was a malformed protection update that the client couldn’t process correctly,' Malwarebytes explains. 'We have pushed upwards of 20,000 of these protection updates routinely. We test every single one before it goes out. We pride ourselves on the safety and accuracy of our detection engines and will work to ensure that this does not happen again. Getting your computer or business back up and running is our utmost priority, as is rebuilding your trust.'