Help On The Way To Fend Off E-Mail Viruses

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More tools are hitting the shelves to help solution providers and their customers combat e-mail-borne viruses and security holes.

Panda Software, Los Angeles, Thursday unveiled Panda Antivirus for Exchange 2000, which claims to protect both incoming and outgoing messages.

A new content filter lets systems administrators block entry of mass mail or delete attachments that could be carrying viruses, the company said.

The software scans message bodies and attachments, including compressed files, to detect and "disinfect" viruses in HTML, RTF or plain text, Panda said. It also scans ZIP, gZIP compressed files and MIME files.

In related news, London-based GFI Software this week unveiled two tests for its e-mail security testing offerings for Outlook XP users.

Outlook XP is the light mail client that ships with Microsoft's Office XP application suite.

The tests, which users can perform by submitting their names and e-mail addresses to, can help safeguard against some e-mail threats that circumvent Outlook XP's own protection, according to GFI. GFI sends a disguised executable file (both a CLSID file extension and a malformed HTML Application executable file) to see if the users' mail system will accept them.

Outlook XP does not block such attachments but asks the user if it should run the files. Due to several security threats targeting Microsoft Outlook and Outlook XP, Microsoft offered fixes that prevent users from running executable attachments. The trouble is, hackers can sneak .exe files into e-mail messages by disguising them.

Some solution providers said the onslaught of hacks targeting Microsoft mail products is having an impact. "The momentum away from [Lotus Notes has definitely slowed. Every time we have another NIMDA or Outlook-borne virus or hack, people thinking of moving to Exchange or Outlook slows," said one Midwestern solution provider who specializes in corporate e-mail.

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