New spyware options

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2006-06-12 Print this article Print

BES 6.0 makes it much easier to deploy software, as well. Although BES has long included the ability for customers to create custom tasks or fixes, BES 6.0 opens things up to make task creation much simpler. Using one of many new wizards, we easily created a software deployment job to deploy a new version of Symantecs anti-virus client and Adobe Systems Adobe Reader, without needing to learn BigFixs action language. However, in a pinch, this language was straightforward enough to cobble something together for actions not explicitly addressed by an existing wizard.

We particularly liked BES burgeoning anti-spyware features. With BigFix AntiPest (only an additional $8 per workstation or $24 per Windows server per year), BigFix has integrated CAs fine PestPatrol technology. Because the AntiPest module runs as a subprocess of BigFix, we could deploy, update and maintain anti-spyware defenses across the enterprise without requiring another management console or client agent.

From the BigFix AntiPest Configuration Wizard, we could easily update the default settings, enabling different types of scans (such as memory, registry and cookie); create exclusion lists; and dictate quarantine behavior. We also could create new scan jobs to apply to targeted groups.

From the new AntiPest Dashboard—one of several new dashboards providing high-level insight into various features with a single click of the mouse—we could easily identify detected spyware activity across the network. BES 6.0 also can create ad hoc groupings on the fly to help administrators identify, locate and remediate systems with outdated or nonexistent anti-spyware protections.

Because no anti-spyware solution detects every known strain of adware or spyware, BigFix offers additional avenues for spyware defense through analysis modules that allow customers to centrally manage and maintain what are normally freely available stand-alone anti-spyware applications.

From the BES 6.0 console, we deployed Spybot Search and Destroy to clients, and we could trigger actions to update detection signatures, run scans and cleaning jobs, or check logs. BigFix also provides the same capabilities for the now-defunct Windows Anti-Spyware Beta 1, but we found the application would not work correctly in our tests, possibly due to the fact that Microsoft no longer supports that old version.

BigFix officials said they may support the latest iteration of Microsofts anti-spyware platform, Windows Defender, but they provided no time frame.

One thing we would like to see in BES is better support for customers navigating regulation-specific compliance issues. Through preconfigured tasks, base lines and reports, BES could help administrators make sense of the exact data and settings needed to comply with the regulations most pressing to their organizations and industries.

Technical Analyst Andrew Garcia can be reached at

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Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at

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