Linux Gets Tighter Locks With New AV Solutions

by Hinesh Jethwani    Mar 19, 2004

In the big bad world of worms and viruses, the virtually unbreakable Linux Operating System - which gained cult status because of its legendary core stability - is quickly donning the mandatory ’Antivirus helmet’ to become infallible.

The alarming frequency of security attacks has prompted many Antivirus companies to dish out Linux specials, with MicroWorld and F-Secure recently joining the list.

Speaking to CXOtoday, P K Kurian, GM - national sales, MicroWorld Software Services, said, “Virus attacks on the Windows platform has literally scared the living daylights off PC Users. This has led to the emergence of GNU/Linux as an alternate solution as it is less vulnerable to virus attacks. MicroWorld is targeting to achieve at least 25% of the total Antivirus and content security solutions market in India of GNU/Linux users in the coming financial year 2004-05″

Currently, there is a large Indian user base in terms of GNU/Linux installation on the server side, which include major ISPs, corporate’s and SME’s who put GNU/Linux on their email gateways for better security, stability and cost considerations.

MicroWorld’s recently completed the development of its first Linux Antivirus solution, christened MailScan, which is available as a downloadable beta test version from the company’s website.

Kurian added, “We have currently included a database of more then 86,000 known viruses, worms and Trojans, which are updated daily. Any mails containing the malware will be quarantined immediately and all responsible persons (Admin, sender etc) are notified.”

Explaining the challenges faced while developing a Linux based AV (As there are not too many security breaches and case histories to build upon), Kurian explained, “GNU/Linux servers are not very vulnerable to viruses, worms and Trojans, but GNU/Linux servers have to co-exist in heterogeneous environment where other systems are susceptible to these threats. The major motive of our products was to stop these threats at the gateway level before malware reaches users’ mailboxes. One of the major challenges faced by us in the development process was selecting the right mix of features to be included in the product and developing a user-friendly and intuitive interface.”

It took MicroWorld more than 3 months to develop the product, and the process will continue further with feedback from beta testers and customers.

With the threat of Spam looming over networks, MailScan also has integrated Anti-Spam tools in its core.

F-Secure Corporation also released yesterday, its new automatic Antivirus solution to protect Linux based file and print servers. Furthermore, during the 1st half of 2004 F-Secure will launch a new centrally manageable, real-time scanning Antivirus solution for Linux workstations and servers.

F-Secure Antivirus for Samba Servers automatically detects, cleans, removes and disinfects viruses from files stored on the servers.

To provide interoperability, F-Secure will also launch a ’Policy Manager’, through which administrators will be able to manage both Windows and Linux Antivirus solutions from one central management system. F-Secure is a SuSE Technology Partner and a Red Hat Ready application. AVG is another Antivirus vendor which has been providing its range of security solutions on the Linux platform.