SAN MATEO (05/30/2000) - Computer Associates International Inc. is targeting the home user with a pair of free anti-virus products to help ward off worms and viruses spread via e-mail.
CA's Mail Watcher and eTrust Content Inspection Personal Edition can be downloaded for free from CA's Web site on Tuesday. The products are designed to make things a bit easier on home users by not requiring a mandatory database update of known signature files each time a new malicious code threat is released or discovered, said Simon Perry, vice president of CA Security Solutions.
Perry said that eTrust Content Inspection PE provides protection against file types that are most commonly used by virus writers. It will automatically monitor all of the actions that occur in the context of an e-mail session. Any attachment that is connected to an e-mail will be scanned -- immediately blocking all Visual Basic Scripts (VBS). Executables attached to the e-mail will be allowed to run, but will be monitored. Should the executable attempt to access a computer's hard drive, it will be stopped in its tracks.
CA is adopting the mindset that any attempt to generate e-mail by a program is cause for suspicion, Perry said. To bring home that point, Mail Watcher will notify users if this occurs in their system and will offer them a choice of whether or not this action should occur.
The I LOVE YOU worm and 29 of its documented variants have caused upwards of $6.7 billion in damage and affected more than 600,000 computers, many of those being home PCs, according to Perry.
The new products will work in conjunction with Microsoft's much-anticipated and highly scrutinized Outlook e-mail security patch. The e-mail program update is slated for release this week following a brief delay imposed by the software giant to hammer out some kinks. The products will also work with other e-mail programs as well, Perry said.
Simon noted that users shouldn't feel a false sense of security by deploying the new products but should instead continue to regularly monitor and maintain their security and anti-virus practices.
While Mail Watcher is available for download by small businesses, eTrust Content Inspection PE is not. Perry said that the same non-update required "proactive" technology is available for enterprise protection in CA's eTrust suite security product line.
For more information, go to www.ca.com/proactivesecurity.
Computer Associates International, in Islandia, New York, is at www.ca.com.
Brian Fonseca is an InfoWorld reporter.