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News - August 18, 2004

Unprotected PCs hit by viruses in minutes

Network worms can get onto a PC within minutes of connecting to the internet, according to security researchers at the Sans Institute.

The "survival time" for an unpatched PC connected to the internet averaged 20 minutes in 2004, compared to 40 minutes the year before. Users of broadband, or poorly secured public networks, would be infected much more quickly, in under 10 minutes after connecting in some cases.

"The main issue here is that the time to download critical patches will exceed this survival time," the researchers said.

Security companies are also monitoring the state of play, and are even more pessimistic. Symantec estimates that it could take seconds rather than minutes to lose control of an unpatched PC.


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Home users get key Windows update (SP2)

In reply to: News - August 18, 2004

From today home users will be able to get hold of Microsoft's long-awaited update for Windows XP. The version of the SP2 security update for the Home Edition of XP has become available via its auto-update service.

However, users of XP Professional Edition must wait until 25 August to get a version intended for them. Users who prefer to get a CD of the key update may have to wait a few weeks because the software was only recently released to disc manufacturers.


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Has Microsoft caught all of the bugs?

In reply to: News - August 18, 2004

Like most computer professionals who've already tried it, Marc Arbesman has many nice things to say about the newly released Windows XP Service Pack 2.

"From what I've experienced, installation is a breeze," Arbesman said of Microsoft Corp.'s highly touted upgrade, which it gingerly released to the public on Monday. "In every respect, it seems to be working just fine."

But Arbesman is leery of making a long-term commitment to it right away for his business, ThrottleNet, a software-development firm in Creve Coeur. There's a history to Microsoft's products he finds unsettling.

"In my experience," Arbesman said, "it takes Microsoft about three tries to get all the bugs out."


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AOL UK Offers McAfee Virus Protection

In reply to: News - August 18, 2004

AOL, the leading online interactive services provider to the UK, and McAfee, Inc., the leading provider of intrusion prevention solutions, today announced a new premium service, which will provide always-on and up-to-date protection against thousands of known viruses, Trojans, and worms to AOL members who subscribe to the service.

McAfee VirusScan Online - Brought to you by AOL offers easy-to-use virus protection that enables AOL members in the UK to have a safer and more secure online experience. Always vigilant and continuously updated when members go online, the McAfee premium service offers PC-based protection that helps guard files against infection or corruption whether the AOL member is online or not.

The new service, which is installed on the member?s desktop, goes beyond email protection to guard against infection from peer-to-peer file sharing, Web site downloads, infected CD-ROMs and disks, multimedia files, and more. AOL already scans email attachments members send or receive for possible viruses and other threats as a benefit of membership.


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Security Flaws Found in SP2

In reply to: News - August 18, 2004

Virus writers and hackers may be able sidestep Microsoft's big fix.

Paul Roberts, IDG News Service
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Security researchers inspecting a new update to Microsoft's Windows XP found two software flaws that could allow virus writers and malicious hackers to sidestep new security features in the operating system.

German Internet security portal Heise Security published a security bulletin, dated August 13, describing two holes in the Windows XP Service Pack 2 and warning users about running programs from untrusted Internet sites.

The flaws could allow virus writers to circumvent the security feature and write worms that spread on XP SP2 systems, according to the bulletin. However, the researcher who discovered the holes says he does not consider the flaws to be serious and he still recommends installing SP2.

More: http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,117452,tk,dn081804X,00.asp

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CA buys antispyware vendor PestPatrol while McAfee snaps up

In reply to: News - August 18, 2004

Grant Gross and Paul Roberts, IDG News Service
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
It's shopping season for security software, as Computer Associates is acquiring antispyware vendor PestPatrol, in the wake of a similar acquisition by rival McAfee, which bought Foundstone.

CA paid an undisclosed amount of cash for the Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based company. CA plans to incorporate the PestPatrol products into its eTrust Threat Management software suite, which protects against viruses, spam, and inappropriate use of the Web by employees, company representatives say.

McAfee acquired Foundstone, which makes software for detecting and managing software vulnerabilities, for $86 million in cash, according to McAfee representatives. The company plans to combine Foundstone's technology for spotting and remediating software vulnerabilities with its intrusion detection and security policy management products, allowing companies to identify and shield high-priority computer assets from attack.

More: http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,117443,tk,dn081804X,00.asp

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