McAfee Goes After Network Vulnerabilities

On April Fools Day, anything is possible, particularly if you’re a vindictive prankster looking to unleash the next CodeRed or Nimba virus on legions of unsuspecting email recipients.

McAfee Security, holder of 34 percent of the anti-virus industry’s market share, this week unleashed not the newest virus warning, but a new viral vulnerability assessment technology that the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company claims “closes the door on virus writers by searching for all the places a virus or worm might squeak into the network.”

The security division of parent company Network Associates, Inc. , McAfee’s ThreatScan works in conjunction with virus management platform ePolicy Orchestrator to pinpoint network ‘soft spots’ and immediately implement preventive measures before an attack occurs and grinds business to a halt.

In this security marriage, ePolicy Orchestrator provides the muscle and reach by managing anti-virus security for corporate networks from a single server and distributing the latest virus definition updates to hundreds of thousands of desktops with the push of a button.

ThreatScan acts as the brains of the security operation and via a user interface gives network managers the ability to audit network devices within a given Internet protocol range and identify operating systems throughout the network and the service pack level of each system and application.

ThreatScan also searches the network for known viral hot spots and then provides recommendations for protecting these vulnerabilities. The software also helps a company track the progress of eliminating these network weaknesses and reports on compliance with security policies.

“Virus outbreaks are uniquely egalitarian among security threats,” said Eric Hemmendinger, research director for security and privacy at Aberdeen Group. “Virtually every enterprise of any size has been impacted, and the cost/benefit equation for anti-virus solutions is so obvious that no IS (information services) manager will operate without protection.

Hemmendinger went on to explain that the difference between McAfee’s new ThreatScan and traditional anti-virus software that focuses on stopping the execution and proliferation of a virus, is that ThreatScan can tag those vulnerable areas before an attack sets in, giving network managers a chance to plug up the holes before the enemy is even at the gates.

“McAfee ThreatScan is a leap forward in anti-virus security, delivering a truly proactive approach to shielding businesses from new virus attacks, while also preventing previously discovered viruses from re-infecting systems across the network,” said Michael Callahan, senior director of product marketing for McAfee Security.

ThreatScan is available on Microsoft Windows NT or Windows 2000 servers and is compatible with Internet Explorer version 5 or later.

McAfee products and services are backed by AVERT (Anti-Virus Emergency Response Team), the anti-virus research organization that helped stamp out viruses like LoveLetter, CodeRed, and Nimda.

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