Network Associates gets proactive with viruses

The security specialist has announced the beta release of antivirus software that integrates proactive security with more traditional approaches

Network Associates has announced the beta release of McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.0, which combines proactive and reactive security measures in one software package.

Proactive antivirus systems, known as intrusion-prevention systems (IPS), are systems that detect and stop unknown security attacks before they cause havoc. Traditional antivirus solutions contain intrusion-detection systems (IDS), which can only recognise known security threats and depend on regular security patches.

VirusScan Enterprise 8.0 uses a combination of behavioural rules and signatures to prevent unknown attacks.

IPS is not a new technology -- various IPS systems have been released in recent years, such as Symantec's Host IDS 4.1, which provides intrusion prevention and detection for servers. However, Network Associates is the first major security vendor to release a complete antivirus solution that provides both IDS and IPS protection.

More proactive security software has become increasingly important as threats become more sophisticated and spread ever more rapidly. The time between the detection of vulnerability and the actual attack has narrowed the "window of vulnerability" during which organisations can install and test patches.

Network Associates (NA) bought its IPS capability through the acquisition of two specialist companies last year, Entercept Security Technologies, a provider of host-based IPS and Intruvert Networks, a provider of IPS for the networking environment.

A spokesperson for Network Associates on Monday said that "elements of Entercept were put in VirusScan 8". He said that it had been easy to integrate Entercept's software into the McAfee suite: "The main problem was incorporating Entercept's tools so that they could be managed from one console".