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By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-11-18 Print this article Print

Smaller anti-virus efforts, such as the new ones from companies like SonicWall and WatchGuard, really cant keep up with this. And in many cases their techniques cant be as thorough, especially when trying to perform heuristic analysis.

Consider the new SonicWall gateway-level protection, which inspects at a packet level. Theres no way you can get a big-enough picture at this level to do heuristic analysis. Beefier boxes, like the Servgate Edgeforce line, which are actually Linux PCs with hard disks in them, can view entire files and do more sophisticated analysis. The Servgate boxes run McAfees anti-virus software. Like the SonicWall boxes, they also provide firewall protection, VPN and many other functions.

For insights on security coverage around the Web, check out Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.
Gateway-level anti-virus from different vendors often differs in other subtle, but important ways. Does the system scan only SMTP or does it also scan POP3, in case a user inside the LAN checks an outside server? Does it scan IMAP (not that many people care)? Does it scan outbound traffic?

Unfortunately, you get what you pay for, and this kind of high-quality anti-virus gateway enforcement doesnt come cheap. Good protection is not the sole province of the Big Three. Kaspersky, Sophos, Bitdefender and others all have good products. But small companies trying to do their own scanners are just not in their league.

Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. More from Larry Seltzer

Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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