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Products of the Year: Antivirus/antiworm

2004 antivirus and antiworm products of the year.

GOLD MEDAL: Sophos Anti-Virus
Rating: 80

Sophos continues to compete with the antivirus giants through an effective combination of technical know-how, expedient response to new malware and good, old-fashioned customer service. Sophos Anti-Virus isn't just winning the gold award, it's setting the standard for AV excellence.

"Sophos makes an excellent product; it's very focused on AV signature generation, " says the corporate security manager at a telecommunications company.

Fighting viruses has become a speed game. As attacks keep increasing in volume and severity, AV companies have to continuously update their products and signature databases. Sophos uses a series of internally developed approaches to rapidly identify new viruses, including code emulation, online decompression for scanning, and an engine for detecting and disabling macro viruses. It scans incoming documents not by extension but by analyzing their format, making the scanner harder to trick.

Sophos developed its real-time InterCheck technology to counter viruses regardless of their delivery medium: e-mail, CD, floppy disk, instant message or network share. InterCheck scans for infections upon access to a system. Sophos also uses a Remote Update feature to protect machines not regularly connected to the corporate network. Business users rate both features highly.

And they appreciate that Sophos doesn't employ the hype or jargon that other vendors use to blow new viruses out of proportion. A senior security analyst at a large financial services firm says, "Sophos uses plain English to tell me what something does and how it does it, which is more than some other AV vendors."

Enterprise customers also cite Sophos' antispam capability in its e-mail server/gateway products, PureMessage and MailMonitor. "It effectively quarantines spam," says the director of information security at a large consumer goods company.

SILVER MEDAL: Symantec AntiVirus Enterprise Edition
Rating: 75

USER COMMENT: "It catches viruses, the definitions are updated pretty well, and Symantec has good resource pages for downloading remote tools."

BRONZE MEDAL: VirusScan Enterprise
Rating: 74

USER COMMENT: "McAfee is as good as other vendors, but with more timely delivery of virus definitions."

This was last published in January 2005

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