META: Now is the Time to Review Anti-Virus Strategies

With a recent revisitation by Melissa, new strains of the CIH Virus, and the appearance of the Tristate macro virus– along with the dissemination of new trojan horse hacker tools– reliable security solutions with ant-virus components might be just as critical as Y2K compliance solutions. According to some experts, even if users feel quite secure with their current solutions, there may be a number of reasons to rethink their position.

META Group last week issued a white paper — “Anti-Virus: Time to Review” — advising that due to recent anti-virus market consolidations, companies should re-evaluate their security strategies. With mergers, alliances and acquisitions, such as Symantec & IBM, Symantec & Intel, Symantec & Quarterdeck and Network Associates & Dr. Solomon’s, many users will seize an opportunity to gravitate to more comprehensive solutions.

The report issued by META also contends that the impending year 2000 should provide additional impetus to improve, not neglect, anti-virus strategies.

The market analyst firm warns that hackers might opportunistically view the approach of the new millennium as “a milestone event to create additional havoc.”

“Adequate anti-virus protection must be an important component of any comprehensive Y2K effort,” commented META’s Jack Gold.

Although alarmist approaches might be objectionable to some industry analysts, adequate preparation is widely encouraged. “The Melissa virus outbreak has made organizations realize the implications of virus infection,” Gold added. “An attack targeting a file server with customer information or financial data can easily wipe out the entire data contents, thus putting the organization out of business until data is recovered.”

Established in 1989, The META Group offers market research specifically targeted at IT professionals. Collaborating with clients to apply research directly to business requirements, they offer what they call “analysis in context,” assisting in strategic and tactical decisions.

The Anti-Virus Research Center

According to a recent report issued by Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Emergency Response Team, computer virus activity has been on the rise over the last three months. The organization advises users to employ the latest available software.

Last week, PC World announced that it had chosen Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus 5.0 program as the best anti-virus program of 1999. The award will be presented at its PC Expo, June 23rd. Secure Computing has also singled out Norton.

Version 5.0 of Norton AntiVirus includes Symantec’s Bloodhound heuristics scanner-along with a Trojan Horse detection engine– to prevent virus infection from Internet sources, and technology to automatically block destructive Active X and Java applets from entering a user’s computer.

Norton users can access The Anti-Virus Research Center, which is “committed to providing swift, global responses to computer virus threats, proactively researching and developing technologies that eliminate such threats and educating the public on safe computing practices.”

The Symantec labs regularly update their virus definitions listing, which is almost mandatory in today’s environment, according to many experts. Users can update accordingly by automatic dialup, or manual online download.

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