Blue screen reboots after patch could mean malware

Microsoft today confirmed it has traced rebooting problems after installing a recent Windows patch to the Alureon rootkit.

Redmond announced today it has found the cause of reported rebooting problems after some Windows users installed a recent patch: The systems were infected with malware.

Specifically, the Alureon rootkit, a type of stealth malware that's used to hide other malware infections. Rootkits typically change important system files to perform their obfuscation, and in this case Microsoft says those system changes caused major problems after the MS10-015 kernel patch, shipped during the last Patch Tuesday, was installed.

A Microsoft Security Response Center post says that the company first heard of the reboot problems on the 10th, and halted the distribution of MS10-015 via Automatic Updates while it investigated. That research confirmed the problem with the rootkit.

According to the post, the Alureon varieties seen by Microsoft only affect 32-bit systems. Also, problem reports have largely involved Windows XP systems. For that reason, Redmond says it will resume distributing the MS10-015 patch for 64-bit systems via Windows Update.

While I'm more than willing to take Microsoft to task when they screw up, in this case I don't think anyone could hold Redmond at fault here when the root cause is a malware infection. It could even be a good thing, since the only thing worse than dealing with a constantly rebooting system is unknowingly using an infected system and having all your passwords and financial info stolen.

Another post from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center provides some technical details on Alureon, and also notes that the latest varieties of the malware no longer conflict with MS10-015. Also, if your own PC has been constantly rebooting since applying this patch and you think you might be infected with the rootkit, Microsoft says it will provide free technical support at its PC Safety hotline at 1-866-727-2338.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AlureonMicrosoftmalware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Erik Larkin

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?