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RealTime IT News

Security Specialists Respond in Force

Nothing like a couple malicious worms to spur anti-virus software companies to make a half dozen new product announcements.

Symantec , the Cupertino, Calif.-based maker of Norton software line, has unveiled its AntiVirus 2004, which is scheduled for wide availability in early September. Two versions are expected.

Norton AntiVirus 2004 will also be offered in a professional edition, which will include all of the capabilities of the standard version, as well as additional protection features to help ensure the integrity and safety of data.

Norton AntiVirus 2004 and Norton AntiVirus 2004 Professional will be available for an estimated retail price of US$49.95 and US$69.95, respectively. Prices include a one-year subscription to Symantec's protection updates. Current users of Norton AntiVirus and competitive antivirus products will be able to upgrade to Norton AntiVirus 2004 and Norton AntiVirus 2004 Professional for an estimated retail price of US$29.95 and US$39.95, respectively. Norton AntiVirus 2004 Small Office Packs will be available for an estimated retail price of US$199.95 for 5 users and US$399.95 for 10 users.

And not to be outdone, Network Associates and its McAfee Security Consumer division made a series of announcements pointing to a variety of software solutions for protecting businesses and consumers from future malicious attacks.

McAfee VirusScan, the company's consumer anti-virus software from its McAfee Security Consumer division is now out with a new version, which includes the company's "enhanced WormStopper technology."

"WormStopper automatically detects and alerts users when their systems are attempting to send email to an unusually large number of addresses and also alerts users when the system attempts to send out too many single emails within a 30-second period, helping to ensure that new mass-mailing worms cannot spread without the knowledge of the user. This new technology, in combination with other additional new features will help to ensure that users are protected against recent outbreaks like Lovsan, Nachi and Sobig, which have infected computers around the world over the last two weeks," the company said in a statement.

McAfee says its WormStopper technology has been updated with a variety of new features, including detection and removal software to combat "applications like spyware, adware, web dialers."

McAfee says its VirusScan software "now automatically scans attachments sent through instant messaging clients such as AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and Windows Messenger."

McAfee says its software also include ScriptStopper, a way of detecting and preventing "malicious script actions."

Network Associates also on Monday said it is rolling out "the newest network and secuirty management solution from the Sniffer Technologies division, the Netasyst network analyzer, specifically designed for the burgeoning small and mid-size business maket and field service organizations."

The Netasyst system is able "to monitor, troubleshoot and secure their 10/100 LAN and 802.11a and 802.11b wireless networks," according to a Network Associates press release.

On Monday, Network Associates also said it has been awarded a patent on "selective filtering in analysis of voice over internet protocol data."

The patent will give customer of Sniffer Technologies, a Network Associates division a series of protocols for analyzing and troubleshooting network.

"The patent covers various products, systems and methods, which allow a user to selectively filter protocols among Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to troubleshoot or optimize a network handling VoIP calls," Network Associates said.

"The technology covered by this patent allows users to select particular voice protocols and monitor network parameters specific to VoIP calls. By solely looking at the selected protocols and parameters in data, users can receive more accurate information and the collected data requires less storage. Furthermore, a plurality of protocols is displayed to users, and a user can select which protocols to analyze, in a variety of filtering modes. Protocols can be filtered, network parameters can be analyzed, and calls can be monitored based upon the selections," Network Associates said.

In addition, Network Associates said it struck a deal with RightNow Technologies, a provider of hosted customer service and support solutions, including its Magic Service Desk solution for a knowledge management and employee support technology.

Network Associates and RightNow Technologies said they would enable more elaborate customers service including "personalized customer interaction, real-time inquiry escalation and resolution through chat forums, and improved business productivity and efficiency," the companies said in a press release.

In yet another deal announced Monday, Network Associations said it had entered into "a partnership" with Phoenix Technologies Ltd. to "provide the industry's first anti-virus protection for PCs residing within the core system software in desktop and notebook systems. The Network Associates McAfee VirusScan Online service will reside within Phoenix Core Managed Environment, making the application itself free from virus or rogue code attacks. This industry first in anti-virus protection allows PC manufacturers to provide their customers a higher level of virus defense beyond desktop protection."

Virus attacks have dominated the technology headlines for the past couple weeks, first with Blaster, only to be followed by Sobig, whose concerns seems to be waning.

Network Associates said in one of its many press releases on Monday that "according to the mi2g, Ltd., a digital risk management company, digital attacks, including worms and viruses, hit a record level in January 2003, numbering close to 20,000 and causing more than $8 billion in damages worldwide. If the current rate of attack continues, it's estimated there will be more than 180,000 digital attacks for the year, costing between $80 billion and $100 billion in damages."