The problem could leave Windows 2000 computers running Norton Antivirus 2000 unresponsive and in need of a reboot, list user Lance Kujala said in a posting to the NT-Bugtraq mailing list. The software would slow programs "into limbo; eventually the mouse stops responding and the keyboard lights no longer toggle," he said.
Symantec didn't discover the problem in its testing, but people brought the problem to the company's attention, antivirus researcher Carey Nachenberg said today. "It is a very real problem. We already have an update posted that will take care of that issue," he said.
The glitch was fixed within hours. Using the software's Live Update feature will download the repair, he said.
The problem was the result of an update that allowed the software to do a better job locating a type of program called a script that can hide in some types of files, Nachenberg said. The antivirus software would falter because of the way Windows treats some data as a file--such as the stream of information that pours in from a serial port. These types of files technically have no end, so the antivirus software would scan them endlessly.
Nachenberg said he didn't know if the problem affected people with other versions of Windows or Norton Antivirus.