McAfee, the security and anti-virus firm, is trying to solve a bungle that happened on Friday night that has caused chaos for some of its customers.

It seems the company accidentally released an update to its thousands of customers around the globe that falsely identified dozens of ordinary programs as threats.

The problem started last Friday when the company released the 4715 DATs, which contained an incorrect identification for the W95/CTX virus.

As a result, a long list of ordinary files, including Microsoft's Excel, the Google Toolbar installer, Java and the Macromedia Flash Player, were marked as hostile and users were prompted to either quarantine or delete them.

The company now has to face complaints from angry users who may have deleted their files.

The software affected was VirusScan Enterprise 7.1 and above, Managed VirusScan 3.5 and 4.0 Beta, VirusScan Online 10, LinuxShield and VirusScan 7.03.