Virus Variants Keep Solution Providers Busy

While the onslaught has wreaked havoc on scores of enterprises across the country, solution providers said the endless spate of virus variants has meant constant demand and major profits during what is generally a quiet time.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook," said Andy Reese, national director of security consulting at Symantec partner Dyntek, Clearwater, Fla. "People are looking for solutions that have the ability to go out and query their systems and let them know what patches are installed."

>> Solution providers say recent spate of viruses has meant major profits.

Security systems from every vendor have been busy lately. In the past four weeks, the Web has seen a laundry list of at least 10 variants of the Netsky virus, nine variants of the Beagle virus and four variants of the Sober virus, to name a few. At the code level, many of these variants appeared to be steps in an escalating war between virus writers,some of the worms actually contained obscene slurs from one virus writer to another.

Virus experts say that many of the newest variants also are different in that they come with their own SMTP engines that enable them to proliferate more quickly.

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Vincent Gulloto, vice president of McAfee AVERT, said, "We've seen [innovations] happen in the past, but never like this. Some of the variants are so different from their original version that we're seeing brand-new viruses."

Solution providers said the best way to combat the continuing rash of viruses is simply to stay on top of it. While this challenge seems daunting, Kim Paul, CEO of TruSecure partner KPN Networks, Ventura, Calif., vowed to persevere.

"Everyone would like to think that we have a handle on this, but I think we're far from there," she said. "[Virus outbreaks] are potentially one of the biggest limiters in technology today, and it's up to all of us to keep our customers ahead of the game."