If you use McAfee’s anti-virus program and have Windows XP with SP 3, you may have noticed last week that your PC was shutting down every 60 seconds. That was because McAfee pushed out an update that it now admits wasn’t properly tested. To apologize, the company says it will reimburse you for repairs (although it hasn’t provided details on this yet), and it’s offering everyone who was affected a free 2-year extension of the service. Should you take the offer and call it even? Seth Rosenblatt at Cnet says you shouldn’t bother.
Rosenblatt’s main argument is simply that an error of this size shouldn’t be forgiven so easily, both because it was easily preventable and because McAfee didn’t react quickly enough to resolve it.
My recommendation comes down to a harsh reality: corporations should be accountable for their actions, and users have choices. In the security realm, there are at least a dozen top-shelf paid and free security suites. Choose any one of them: you’re not beholden to a company that will risk your data, time, and money–even accidentally.
…more than any other third-party program, security vendors have unfettered access to your system. Combine the worst of bad updates with gross errors in communicating to their customers about how to fix a problem that they caused, and I feel that it is irresponsible to continue to recommend McAfee for now.
“Why it’s time to move away from McAfee” [The Download Blog]