With virus attacks becoming the norm, vendors are looking for ways to combat this growing epidemic. And, with Symantec’s recent release of its AntiVirus 2.5 software for Lotus Notes and Domino servers, the company hopes the product will at least help curb the problem.

The software can be configured remotely or locally on Solaris, AIX, AS/400 and OS/390 platforms. Upgrades include improved reporting capabilities, support for Lotus Notes R5 and file scanning. But there is one feature on which the company is focusing.

“I would say the most significant step is the malicious-code scanning. You can scan not only the messages or attachments but scan the body of messages as well,” said Michael Murphy, the Canadian general manager for Symantec in Toronto.

However, the feature is not so new to the market. At least one competing product – McAfee’s WebShield e250 – already includes a code-scanning feature.

Murphy said network administrators will find AntiVirus 2.5’s configuration process to be simplified, as they will now be able to set up one server and replicate that configuration across all the Domino servers from a centralized location. He said that it is because of mass virus mailers, worms and Trojans that vendors need to step up their response times; there is currently a shift around informing users via a page or message about incoming viruses.

While it appears that progress is being made in the discovery of viruses, Symantec is one of many vendors in a market that seems to be a battlefield, according to one analyst.

“[Symantec is] a reputable vendor with ongoing investment in virus protection. [Symantec AntiVirus is] one of the top two or three offerings and it offers reasonably high virus protection,” said Robert Fabian, an independent consultant in Toronto.

He added that the biggest advantage Lotus has going for it is that it’s not Microsoft, which is the target of nearly 90 per cent of the virus writers simply because it has the most dominant operating system. And, as Lotus is mostly a stand-alone platform, it is both easier to protect and less attractive to virus writers, he added.

But in the race of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, he warned that vendors find themselves constantly at war. “Who is the best this week? It’s hard to say,” he said.

Simon Tang, manger of secure e-business strategies at Deloitte & Touche Consulting in Toronto, said the new release’s reporting engine is indeed a significant upgrade to Symantec’s product, and that the code-scanning feature was added in direct response to its competitor.

Symantec AntiVirus 2.5 for Lotus Notes/Domino is available now, and pricing varies depending on the implementation. For more information, visit the company’s Canadian Web site at

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