Rise of computer viruses create growing concern for Internet safety

Manila, 22nd November 1999, Manila Bulletin-ONE could not predict when a computer virus would strike next. And the proliferation of viruses is a great concern for safety and security on the Internet.

Manila, 22nd November 1999, Manila Bulletin-ONE could not predict when a computer virus would strike next. And the proliferation of viruses is a great concern for safety and security on the Internet.

A number of anti-virus solutions in the market could alert users against any virus attack. One of the companies is Trend Micro, Inc., a leading provider of Internet virus protection.

Trend Micro chairman and chief executive officer Steve Chang said that the issue of where an anti-virus protection is deployed would continue to be a deciding factor.

Having gone from the desktop to the server and the Internet gateway, anti-virus security is about to be built into the infrastructure of the Internet. Antivirus protection would be hosted on telecoms, internet service providers and application server providers.

Trend Micro has established a support center in Manila that is manned by 50 Filipino engineers who provide support worldwide.

Chang said that today's 30,000 defined viruses are different in both breed and transmission."No longer transmitting through floppy diskettes, viruses now travel via the Internet, around the world in a matter of seconds. One infected e-mail attachment can paralyse an entire corporate network," said Chang.

The growth of e-commerce combined with more sophisticated virus threats is revolutionizing the anti-virus market.

For instance, the Melissa virus has brought down corporate networks worldwide. Chang said that in the future, a computer virus would no longer be just a virus.

An expanded definition will include macro viruses, Trojan horses, malicious code, harmful URLs, Java applets and Active X controls.

Chang expected that the next few years would bring about an onslaught of global mixed virus attacks. "With viruses and hacker agents exploiting the Internet's continued, uncontrolled growth, future viruses will be more potent, packaged in all shapes and forms."

Chang said that in the first half of the year, Internet viruses caused corporations an estimated $7.6 billion.

In addition, infected e-mail attachments already account for over 50 percent of virus infections in large corporations, up from 10 percent in 1996.

Due to the lack of in-house content security expertise, reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) and the explosive growth of e-commerce, IT managers would choose to outsource anti-virus protection built into the infrastructure of the Internet and provided by Telecoms, applications server providers (ASPs) and Internet service providers (ISPs).

Chang said that rather than remain product-oriented, the industry should embrace a subscription-based business model offering customers a choice of Internet value-added services.

"We have already developed carrier-class products that are fully integrated with telecom and ISP business operations to guarantee premium service and 99.999 percent uptime," said Chang.

Trend Micro has forged a marketing and technology licensing agreement with Compaq Computer Corporation. It will enable Compaq to offer its Exchange Utility Service customers email virus scanning as a value-added component of its current service offering.

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