Microsoft has identified the malware infection responsible for a recent run of system crashes sparked by its latest security update.
The company said that a rootkit known as Alureon was incompatible with a patch released earlier this month, and that the issue had caused some systems to crash after the patch is installed.
Microsoft has temporarily pulled the patch as an automatic update for 32-bit Windows XP systems. It is not believed that 64-bit versions are at risk.
The firm said that the issue lay within the Windows kernel and the manner in which the malware infection interacts with the kernel.
Alureon infects the hard disk drivers on targeted systems, and modifies the code. When the new kernel patch is installed, the infected drivers are unable to communicate with the kernel and a system crash results.
Microsoft is advising users who suspect an infection to run an anti-virus scan. The issue can also be resolved by reinstalling the infected drivers from the Windows recovery console.
The company said that it is working in-house and with third-party security vendors to develop a fix for the issue. Microsoft said that this should be released in the next few weeks.
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