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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags AlureonMicrosoftmalware

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

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?