Network Associates updates VirusScan

Network Associates Inc. has released a new version of its McAfee VirusScan product, which the company said is aimed at beating the recent wave of worms and viruses that has bombarded the Internet.

According to Network Associates, the latest version of the product includes enhanced WormStopper technology, a feature which automatically detects and alerts users when their systems are trying to send out an unusually high volume of e-mails within a 30-second period. This ultimately enables users to prevent the spreading of mass-mailing worms without their knowledge. WormStopper can also check for repetitious e-mail content and will block any suspicious outgoing e-mail.

Tracy Hulver, director of product management for Network Associates in Washington, said that because the SoBig and Lovesan worms spread with remarkable speed, the company's antivirus scanner attempts to stop viruses from hitting computers by using heuristics and algorithms to log the similarities between viruses. Once the system recognizes a similarity between one virus and the new virus attacking the system, it will alert the user to block it. For example, if a user sends an e-mail to everyone in his or her address book, or sends a lot of e-mails with different subject lines within a short time, it gets flagged because those are the usual signs of a virus, he explained.

VirusScan also automatically scans attachments sent through instant messaging clients such as America Online Inc.'s Instant Messenger, Yahoo Inc.'s Messenger and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Messenger. It automatically gives users the option to remove spyware and adware applications.

The company said it has also set up the McAfee Security Center to provide real-time security information to users, to warn them of newly found threats. The service is free to customers. "It's more of a report card of how secure we feel your system is," Hulver said.

VirusScan is priced at US$34.95 and is available on the company's Web site at

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