GWKB2058 : McAfee Found to Block Important Functionality in Window-Eyes

Product: Window-Eyes
Author: Marc Solomon
Date Added: 06/05/2014
Last Modified: 06/05/2014


The Window-Eyes screen reader uses VBScript, a COM (Component Object Model) enabled scripting engine built into Microsoft Windows, to implement key accessibility enhancements for a number of commonly used programs including the Microsoft Office suite.  The Window-Eyes COM interface enables developers to enhance application accessibility by extending the functionality of Window-Eyes through scripting.  Unlike other screen reader products that use a proprietary scripting language to implement similar functionality, Window-Eyes uses an open language scripting model that follows well known industry standards.

McAfee is known to redirect script processing for filtering purposes so they can check scripts for suspicious behavior.  This is accomplished by replacing the VBScript engine registry entry with a path to their own interpreter rather than the native one Microsoft provides.  The McAfee heuristics used for analysis and the related registry modifications have been shown to prevent Window-Eyes apps written in VBScript, such as Outlook Enhance, from executing correctly and thus limiting the functionality available to end users.  Specifically, the symptoms that have been observed related to McAfee are if any Window-Eyes app attempts to retrieve an external object (such as the Outlook application object), it would fail and generate an error because the object could not be retrieved.

Because of these program conflicts, GW Micro strongly recommends that Window-Eyes users avoid using McAfee and instead use one of several other well-known anti-malware products that do not present the same issues related to VBScripts.  Microsoft Security Essentials, VIPRE Antivirus, and ESET Nod32 are all known to be compatible with Window-Eyes and each one offers robust anti-malware protection comparable to McAfee.

Now that this program conflict has been identified, Window-Eyes has been modified so that if the file in the VBScript engine registry path doesn’t match the native VBScript.dll, Window-Eyes will attempt to load the native VBScript.dll itself.  This change will be available in Window-Eyes versions 9.0 and higher.