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Kaspersky update zaps Microsoft antivirus

Update to Kaspersky Lab antivirus software causes e-mail problems for some users of Microsoft's Antigen.

Microsoft and Kaspersky Lab have recovered from an error that caused significant e-mail troubles for some users of Microsoft's Antigen e-mail security software.

Antigen users started receiving updates for their Kaspersky Lab antivirus engine again on Tuesday. Microsoft and Kaspersky had put those on hold after a flawed update caused trouble last week, representatives for the companies said Tuesday.

"As far as both parties are concerned, the problems have been addressed, and it's business as usual," said Steve Orenberg, president of Kaspersky's North American operations.

The problems left some people without fully functional e-mail systems for as long as 10 hours. The culprit was a routine update to the Kaspersky antivirus engine, which was distributed early Thursday morning. In the afternoon of that day, Microsoft offered the previous version of the engine for download to solve the problem.

"As soon as we were aware that our customers were experiencing e-mail problems due to the Kaspersky update, we escalated through the appropriate channels across Kaspersky and Microsoft and were able to define, test and provide a resolution," the Microsoft representative said in a statement.

Antigen, which Microsoft acquired when it bought Sybari, uses multiple antivirus engines. The product is used by about 10,000 organizations, a "small percentage" of which use the Kaspersky engine, the Microsoft representative said.

While halting the update for the Kaspersky engine for several days meant that one engine wasn't refreshed, users were still protected by the other engines and revamps. Antigen can scan e-mail with up to five engines at the same time, according to the Microsoft Web site.

Microsoft recently announced a new beta test version of Antigen.