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IBM's 'oops' on McAfee and Notes trouble


IBM no longer advises Lotus Notes users who run into trouble with the latest version of McAfee's VirusScan Enterprise to "completely disable the antivirus software."

"The solution should never be to disable antivirus software, suggesting that is irresponsible," Dale Siviter of IBM's malicious software defense team wrote in an e-mail to CNET on Wednesday. "The Lotus team had posted that information, and it was incorrect."

At issue is a support note on IBM's Web site that deals with problems encountered by Lotus Notes users when running McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.5i. This latest version of the McAfee protection tool, released in November, can render Notes inoperable, IBM and McAfee have said.

"Even if the actual resolution is not known, the resolution when dealing with a brand new product should be to simply roll back to the previous release until all the kinks are worked out," Siviter wrote. IBM has updated its support note and worked out its internal communications issues, he added.

The trouble with Notes occurred because McAfee's support for the IBM e-mail client is weak, Siviter noted. "McAfee had rewritten the Notes e-mail scanner feature in VirusScan Enterprise 8.5, but due to the limited number of their customers that use Notes the issue was not caught in beta testing," he wrote. "McAfee is working diligently to improve their Notes support."

The problem with Lotus Notes and the McAfee tool is triggered by specific e-mail messages and lies in the message scanning feature of VirusScan Enterprise, Siviter wrote.

"Every antivirus vendor has issues with their product, all software, in fact," he wrote. "I can say that McAfee has a first rate enterprise product that equals anything Symantec puts out."

Siviter notes that businesses should properly test a product before installing it to avoid any problems. "Working out the kinks of a new product should be the first thing every company should do before deploying it willy-nilly," he wrote.

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