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Save the herd with antivirus software

Save the herd with antivirus software

The installation of antivirus software has been compared to the installation of smoke detectors. The virus, or small fire, can easily flare into a raging inferno which consumes several servers, network connections, and diskettes. Similarly, the installation of antivirus software without updating it has been compared to having smoke detectors without batteries.

For this reason both the initial cost of the software and the cost of updates must be considered when comparing antivirus software packages.

Other discriminating factors include the ease of administration; the size of the system requiring protection; the availability of technical support and the cost of that support. Durelle Fry has examined a number of the major antivirus vendors' offerings in relation to these issues and several vendors have also detailed opportunities and benefits to resellers marketing their softwareComputer AssociatesInoculateIT. This product from Computer Associates is a server-based antivirus tool that operates in four locations: the PC, the server, the messaging server, and the Internet connection. The software scans full time in all four locations protecting all possible points of entry.

On the PC, InoculateIT runs under Windows 3.x, 95, 98, NT and DOS.

On the server, the product runs under Windows NT and NetWare and in addition to full time virus scanning, it can detect infections on any other networked PC or server running InoculateIT, providing infection tracking and logs.

For the messaging server, the software is available in versions tailored to Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange server, ensuring incoming e-mail file structures and attachments are clean.

For the Internet connection, InoculateIT's Internet Protection Option blocks malicious Java and ActiveX applets from entering the network. Free browser helpers detect incoming viruses downloaded by HTTP, whether or not InoculateIT has been installed.

Viruses detected by the software include boot sector, master boot sector, memory resident, polymorphic, file multipartite, macro, and stealth.

Unidentified viruses can also be detec-ted using the Heuristic Virus detection engine which uses rules-based logic to detect virus-like activity.

Virus signature updates are available monthly free of charge.

InoculateIT's procedure in dealing with viruses is to cure infected files immedi-ately; copy and cure infected files to prevent possible damage during the cure process; quarantine infected files; and provide post-infection disaster recovery.

Designed to protect networks, the product scales from workgroup to enterprises of any size. Standalone versions are available for Windows NT and NetWare workgroups of five users and up. An enterprise edition scales up to 250 users, and enterprises of any size can use the software as the Unicenter TNG AntiVirus Option. The desktop version works as a standalone antivirus product.

Management of the software involves the creation of a single management console from which servers can be grouped into domains. When virus signature updates are downloaded, and this can be done automatically, the new file can be automatically installed on all PCs and servers over the network. New InoculateIT installations can also be made automatically from the management console. All events are entered into a central log dedicated to the activities of InoculateIT.

Individual resellers provide the support for InoculateIT. Computer Associates provides complete training and provides a 1800 number for additional technical support queries from resellers. Extensive online support includes a large library of patches and updates.

The product ships with the Unicenter TNG Framework, which creates an object repository and a map, detailing everything about the network on which the software is installed.

InoculateIT is just one part of a complete enterprise management solution from Computer Associates. Other products which the product can be linked to include software for network management, backup storage, software distribution, help desk, controlling remote PCs, providing support, asset management and security.

The RRP of InoculateIT is $1100 per NT server, with an additional fee per user.

Norman Data Defense Systems

Norman Virus Control (NVC). NVC products, from Norman Data Defense Systems, are available for Windows 95, NT, NetWare, OS/2, Windows 3.1 and DOS. They are sold in Europe, the US and Australia.

Suited to single PCs, networks and large enterprises, NVC, as of October, detects 19,274 different virus variants. Cat Claw detects and cleans macro viruses on the fly; and Smart Behaviour Blocker detects anything that acts like a virus, providing protection against both known and unknown viruses.

NVC has won the Virus Bulletin 100% award four times this year, (regular winners of this award are more noteworthy that one-off winners). Distinguishing features of NVC are N-Dist, a distribution tool for easy roll-out of software and updates over a network, and the development of anti-trojan capabilities. NVC currently detects and cleans the Back Orifice and Netbus trojans.

In addition to the software's RRP of $99, maintenance renewal contracts are $70 for 12 months. They include: customer and technical support via e-mail and telephone; software upgrades which include detection for all new viruses that appear "in the wild"; the latest software enhancements to scanning and detection techniques; and monthly updates which are available online.

Norman Data will send a complimentary copy of NVC to any resellers interested in investigating the product further.

Cybec

VET Anti-Virus. Australian developer Cybec claims Vet to be one of the leading antivirus products in the worldwide market because it has consistently performed well in independent tests. The product automatically detects and cleans conventional file and boot sector viruses, as well as macro viruses, and provides protection against Internet and email-borne viruses.

Benefits to Vet customers include free unlimited local technical support for the duration of the one year licence, fortnightly data file virus updates available from the Web site, and free feature upgrades for the duration of the licence - downloadable and/or posted. For customers licensing all their PCs ("no matter how many"), Cybec allows them to distribute Vet to their staff for free home use. An additional benefit is that the latest version of Vet, 9.9, provides extra features without any reduction in scan speed.

Version 9.9 has the ability to check inside compressed files, and the existing data file macro virus update has been expanded to offer data file updates for all other types of file virus. Cybec has promised that new data files will be made available over the Internet "at a minimum of every two weeks" (www.vet.com.au). The data files are between 10 and 200KB and shouldn't take long to download.

Vet has been described by Cybec as being suitable for all PC installations from home users to corporate users "with excellent roll-out features for installing and upgrading across the network". It has been "written to be fully year 2000 compliant".

Vet is available for platforms including Windows 95 and 98, Windows 3.x, DOS and NT workstations. It is also available for both NT and Netware servers. A new e-mail protection product, Vet MailSafe, runs on systems using SMTP and POP3 and offers full MIME support.

For resellers, Vet offers staff in each state for easy accessibility and prompt attention. Free point-of-sale material is offered, as well as overnight delivery in all major capitals. Cybec also claims to offer a high standard of customer service and local technical support.

There are several products in the Vet antivirus range. Vet Net Surfer offers virus protection for files downloaded from the Internet. Upgrades can be accessed from the Web site (RRP $99). Vet Premium virus protection for PCs offers the same advantages of Vet Net Surfer, but adds mailed quarterly upgrades (RRP $129). Vet Enterprise offers virus protection for multiple PCs and the RRP ranges from $179 for two users through to $1748 for 50 users.

The RRP for 100 users is available from Cybec. Vet MailSafe for e-mail protection ranges in RRP from $79 for one user through to $1449 for 50 users. The RRP of Vet NT Server is from $595 and the Vet NetWare Server is also from $595.

A new product, Vet Confidential, is claimed to prevent access to PCs left unattended, lost or stolen notebooks or desktop boxes. Data is encrypted with DES and proprietary 64-bit software. The RRP for a single PC is $119, for 10 PCs it is$1019, 100 is $8619 and 1000 is $75,619.

AVP

According to Rod Fewster of AVP Australia: "AVP is rated by all independent virus experts as the world's number one virus detector." Fewster adds that it was the only antivirus program which won an independent detection test "of any consequence" in 1998.

Suited to single PCs, networks and large enterprises, the software is easy to use. Free phone support is available for licensed users during normal business hours, and weekly updates and program upgrades are available at no extra cost.

Fewster offers a "zero-outlay reseller/consultant program" which is fully supported with demonstrations, evaluations and competitive pricing. The RRP of AVP is $75 for a single user, with site licences available from $250.

Data Fellows

F-Secure Anti-Virus. F-Secure is a Data Fellows product distributed in Australia by Open Systems.

The product features dual engine countersign technology (includes the AVP engine) and an online virus encyclopedia database which is built into the product. This database does not require Internet access to use. A more detailed and up-to-date database is also available from Data Fellows antivirus www club.

F-Secure offers a worldwide presence and certification program for distributors, allowing them to quickly benefit from experience with new viruses found around the world.

An important feature of F-Secure is its automatic and mass deployment capability over large networks - using default settings and preferences as previously defined by the system administrator. The administrator can decide exactly how much control their users have over the software - that is, to prevent it from being uninstalled, disabled, determining when scheduled tasks should run, and exactly what course of action should be taken when a virus is detected. For example, the system administrator may choose not to reveal that a virus has been detected and many can be removed without disrupting the users' work.

F-Secure offers daily updates to the macro virus signature file, and automatic distribution of macro virus signature updates to networked PCs.

The antivirus software periodically checks a networked drive for any product updates or new virus signature files. When these are detected, they are copied locally and brought into immediate use.

The software is available for DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows NT Server, Novell NetWare, OS/2 and Macintosh platforms.

The F-Secure product range also includes Mail Gateway and Firewall antivirus solutions.

Remote automatic installation

F-Secure can be used on a single PC or on networks. One of the major strengths of the software, other than identifying and removing viruses, claims the distributor, is its deployment and management on large and complicated networks. The installation can be performed remotely and automatically and is controlled by the system administrator. The auto-installation checks for the existence of a valid installation to the PC, and if there is not one present, an installation is automatically performed. When the software is being installed, the users' login to the network is delayed by approximately 45 seconds, and does not then require a reboot. The software is immediately fully operational and runs the tasks and settings as previously defined by the system administrator.

Technical support for F-Secure is included free of charge for the duration of an up-to-date annual product licence. It is available by phone, fax or e-mail from the distributor, Open Systems. E-mail support is available from Data Fellows (Finland) in emergency out-of-hour situations.

There are free product updates for the duration of an up-to-date product licence and users are automatically e-mailed when a new product update has been released.

At the end of the annual licence, a licence renewal needs to be purchased at 50 per cent of the original RRP.

The RRP of F-Secure desktop is $165 for a one-licence pack, through to $12,375 for a 100-licence pack, and up to $453,750 for a 5000-licence pack.

Further pricing is available from Open Systems.

Open Systems distributes F-Secure Anti-Virus software through an existing channel of resellers "and we are always happy to introduce and to work with new resellers in this market." The distributor has a lead referral program for resellers, where clients have downloaded evaluation copies of the software from Data Fellows' Web site.

Free full-version timed evaluation software is available from www.datafellows.com.

Trend Micro

Trend Micro has developed a management solution that gives administrators the ability to configure, monitor, and maintain all antivirus programs installed on the network from a single point - regardless of the program's physical location or platform. The Virus Control System (VCS) server installs on one or more NT servers and serves as the single-point control centre for managing most antivirus programs on the network.

The VCS server can be accessed through an Internet browser from any machine. Through the VCS console, the user can centrally configure and update Trend products across the network, as well as generate reports, receive alerts, and generally monitor the virus protection environment. As the user's interface is the Web browser, it is platform independent, that is, Microsoft Explorer or Netscape Navigator.

In addition to supporting most Trend products, it also allows the user to view third-party antivirus software running on servers.

Trend's entire product line is designed to protect all entry points into a network. Protection is provided for:

Unix and Windows NT-based Internet gateways (InterScan and VirusWall);Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, Lotus cc:Mail, Microsoft Mail and HPOpenMail e-mail servers (ScanMail);Windows NT and NetWare servers (ServerProtect);Windows 95, Windows NT, DOS, Windows 3.x desktops (PC-cillin Corporate/OfficeScan Corporate).

All Trend products have automatic scheduled updates over the Internet, or via manual operation if required. Installation of products usually takes less than 10 minutes, and the default installation options are already configured for typical usage.

Technical and virus support is available to all customers via a dedicated 1800 number, e-mail account, or fax. All support, updates and product upgrades are free for the first year (included in the purchase price).

Trend has licensing or reseller relationships with Check Point Software Technologies, Sun Microsystems, Netscape Communications, Control Data Systems and Worldtalk. The company also sells directly into corporate markets, and is a technology licenser to major corporations (Intel, Novell, Sun Microsystems and Netscape Communications).

The RRP of Trend VCS for less than 1000 users is $1500. InterScan VirusWall for 50 users is $2470. ScanMail (all versions) for 50 users is $1379. ServerProtect for one server is $1295, and OfficeScan for 50 users is $1995.

Symantec

Symantec is due to release a new product "later this year", which will reflect the result of its recent acquisition. The September 29 press release, after the announcement of Symantec's acquisition of Intel's antivirus business, announced that Norton AntiVirus (NAV) engine technology will be integrated into a new antivirus product that Intel has had under development for "most of this year"Symantec announced that "the product will be fully integrated with Intel LANDesk Management Suite and will be launched as a Norton AntiVirus product later this year." Until the new version is available, Intel and Symantec will continue to sell LANDesk Virus Protect 5.0.

On November 17, Symantec in California announced that it had completed its tender offer for the common stock of Quarterdeck. The US press release stated that a special meeting of Quarterdeck shareholders is expected to be held at the end of December, "with the merger to be followed shortly thereafter". When Quarterdeck was invited to contribute to this article, the company representative advised that the company was "in the process of being taken over by Symantec". The US press release noted that Symantec will continue to market most of the Quarterdeck brands, including CleanSweep.

Meanwhile, Norton AntiVirus 5.0 is Symantec's latest automatic, comprehensive virus protection product for Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT workstations. It provides protection against Internet threats, simplified virus removal, the analysis services of the Symantec AntiVirus Research Centre (SARC), and micro definitions. Symantec claims that the new program offers increased security and ease of use, "while continuing to provide protection at all virus entry points. These include shared floppy disks, the Internet, e-mail attachments, and networks.

Symantec has cited a number of competitive strengths of NAV. The first is the introduction of Bloodhound heuristics in version 4.0, which enables the product to detect and repair newly created viruses - "over 95 per cent of new macros and over 85 per cent of new file boot viruses".

NAV also offers more than one year of free updates which install themselves automatically. While users may report an increased scan time with NAV 5.0, Symantec explains that this is because the product more thoroughly detects viruses within compressed files. There is an improvement to overall detection ability, and an expanded number of compressed formats can now be read by NAV.

The top competitive advantages of NAV, as cited by Symantec, include Bloodhound Heuristic Technology; Scan and Deliver ( suspicious files or unrepairable viruses can be sent directly to SARC, "with a personal solution in just days"); the existence of SARC (for antivirus research and technology); Navex (updates and improvements are delivered to the NAV engine via LiveUpdate); weekly micro definition updates; protection of NT Workstations; and Quarantine (isolation of unrepaired viruses or suspicious files and providing new options).

The RRP of Norton AntiVirus is $99, with upgrades available for $59. The box contains version 5.0 for Windows 95/98 and Windows NT 4.0, as well as version 4.0 for Windows 3.1, Windows NT (3.51) and DOS.

Norton AntiVirus for Windows NT Server has an RRP of $439. Site licence pricing for Norton AntiVirus for Windows NT Server is available on a per workstation basis through the Symantec Value Licence Program.

Manaccom

Hands Off Personal. Distributed by Manaccom, this software for both virus protection and data security has been designed specifically for the home user. Security features include the prevention of anyone but the authorised user from changing the Windows desktop, screensavers and icons, and allowing the hard drive to be made "Read Only" to anyone but the owner. Files and directories may be specified to be completely out of bounds to anyone but the registered user, and the creation, opening, copying and modifying of files can also be controlled. Hands Off Personal stops viral or trojan attack by monitoring all file actions that occur on the machine. The product runs on Windows 95 or 98 and the RRP is $49.95.

Network Associates

NAI, after its acquisition of Dr Solomon's, is offering a new version of its Total Virus Defense (TVD) suite of products. The suite consists of VirusScan 4.0 Enterprise edition, NetShield 4.0, GroupShield for Exchange and Notes 4.0, and the WebShield product line to protect the Internet gateway.

The new technology added to the suite is its Auto-Immune service and Anti-Virus Informant. The Anti-Virus Informant is intended to automatically create reports about viruses detected by the suite, which can then be presented to administrators or used to update other NAI products. The Auto-Immune service enables corporate customers to automatically extract potential viruses from files and send them to NAI for detection and cleaning updates.

VirusScan 4.0 Enterprise Edition is available now. The other components of the suite are expected before the end of the first quarter next year.

VirusScan 4.0 Enterprise Edition, in addition to including Auto-Immune technology, filters hostile Active X and Java applets. It offers powerful macrovirus heuristics using MacroHunter, and features a new polymorphic engine (Dr Solomon's) which NAI believes provides improved detection. Other features include hourly push and pull online updates; increased scanning speed; advanced e-mail protection; and an antivirus research organisation, backed by McAfee Labs, with more than one hundred researchers operating in 10 countries on five continents.

The retail edition of VirusScan 4.0 is designed specifically for the individual PC user, providing protection against viruses from e-mails, Internet downloads, floppy disks, etc.

The Enterprise Edition of VirusScan 4.0 is scalable so it will suit any sized organisation from small businesses to large corporate enterprises.

NAI provides 24 hour, seven days a week support via the Web at www.mcafee.com. Customers can also call the NAI office.

Administration for the Enterprise Edition is eased by the auto-update feature, allowing administrators to prevent users tampering with the installation and configuration options while enabling automatic delivery of updates/upgrades via the NAI Web site.

NAI offers resellers various benefit programs and high margins, including "great bundling deals for resellers that allow them to offer genuine value deals to their customers".

The RRP for VirusScan 4.0 Retail Edition for Windows 95 and 98 is $79.VirusScan Enterprise Edition is available as part of NAI's Total Virus Defense suite. The RRP is $70 per user for 500 to 1000 users for a two-year subscription licence including free upgrades and updates for the term of the licence.

Contacts

Computer Associates

Tel 1800 800 237

Norman Data Defense Systems

Tel (03) 9562 7655

AVP Australia

Tel (07) 3204 5000

Cybec

Tel (02) 9807 7555

Q*Soft

Tel 1300 658 658

Open Systems

Tel (02) 6261 4900

Trend Micro Australia

Tel (02) 8876 5678

Network Associates

Tel (02) 8425 4200

Symantec

Tel (02) 9859 1104

Manaccom

Tel (07) 3870 4900


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