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Worms Security

Virus Prevention in the Small/Medium Business? 89

Posted by Cliff
from the keeping-out-the-nasties dept.
Morti asks: "I've been asked to select a virus scanner to be installed on the network at work. It's only a small office with six Windows XP PCs, two Linux servers and any number of Windows XP laptops that random people bring in. And I'm wondering, not just in this case but generally, what is the virus scanning / Internet security solution of choice for the small business these days? Costs need to be kept at a minimum, particularly because this business is a registered charity (a church, no less). We used to have Norton Internet Security but I'm not really keen to keep it. Besides Linux (which I've been pushing but nobody's interested), what is the most cost-effective and generally 'best' virus prevention and Internet security solution for the small/medium business?"
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Virus Prevention in the Small/Medium Business?

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  • AVG free (Score:2, Informative)

    http://free.grisoft.com/doc/1 [grisoft.com]

    Small, reliable and free.

  • by Z0mb1eman (629653) on Friday September 09, 2005 @01:30PM (#13520876) Homepage
    ...no one wants to preach two different religions :)

    *ducks*
    • Funny, yes, but also a little insightful in a backhanded way. (Is that even a compliment anymore?) As someone who has been near to various charity/nonprofit organizations, it always saddens me to see them squander their donors' money on Windows and Office licenses.

      I'll get on a slight rant: I've said as much to nonprofits as well as my city government. Why do you need to buy Windows and Office? Oh, they say, we need to remain compatible with everyone else. OK, I reply, what kinds of document exchange do you do? Well, they say, looking at each other, we print things out on letterhead.

      So yeah, squandering is what you're doing.

      • Microsoft's Charity License Program is amazingly cheap.

        Last time I ordered 2003 server was $128 and Office Pro was $90.

        When you consider lost time do to futzing MS might be cheaper. Of course when you consider MS's hardware requirement it might be cheaper.

        Dan
  • Three stories down (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Johnny Mnemonic (176043) <{mdinsmore} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday September 09, 2005 @01:33PM (#13520917) Homepage Journal

    you can read a spirited discussion on the pros/cons of OS X as a virus deterrent. You said that you have tried Linux to little avail--maybe they'd be happier with a non-Windows machine that can still run Microsoft Office?
    • Thats hardly helpful since that would require buying a whole new range of hardware - given that situation he described - that's not practical - is it?

      He needs to keep Windows /and/ Linux.
  • Lots of ways (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nocomment (239368) on Friday September 09, 2005 @01:36PM (#13520939) Homepage Journal
    You could install an active scanner, like mcaffee or norton, on all of the machines, though this can become a headache with the machines not updating often enough. This should be done anyway. You could also use passive scanners that are stand-alone apps that you click on and run periodically to clean viruses. This is typically the cheapest, and also by far the least reliable as it requires users to do it every once in awhile (assuming of course that you don't ant to run around to all the machines yoruself). You could also use clamav to filter just about anywhere. Squid has a plug-in for monitoring web-traffic, amavisd-new uses it for mail filtering, and Samba can use it for scanning incoming files on file shares (this catches a lot of viruses that try to copy themselves to available shares, ie Klez).
    • Re:Lots of ways (Score:4, Informative)

      by nocomment (239368) on Friday September 09, 2005 @01:38PM (#13520953) Homepage Journal
      oops, forgot to check "Plain old text"

      here it is again with line breaks that make sense.

      ----

      You could install an active scanner, like mcaffee or norton, on all of the machines, though this can become a headache with the machines not updating often enough. This should be done anyway.

      You could also use passive scanners that are stand-alone apps that you click on and run periodically to clean viruses. This is typically the cheapest, and also by far the least reliable as it requires users to do it every once in awhile (assuming of course that you don't ant to run around to all the machines yoruself).

      You could also use clamav to filter just about anywhere. Squid has a plug-in for monitoring web-traffic, amavisd-new uses it for mail filtering, and Samba can use it for scanning incoming files on file shares (this catches a lot of viruses that try to copy themselves to available shares, ie Klez).

    • Not the slickest package, but there is a decent Windows GUI for ClamAV. Also, you might consider going around with a bootcd every now and then to run clamav from a safe environment (Linux).

      Don't forget about spyware. Spybot and AdAware should catch just about everything.

      Oh, and ask for a raise. To keep Linux up-to-date requires one command. To keep all of these (minimum of four packages) up-to-date requires four different GUI operations, per machine. Sure, they supposedly keep themselves up-to-date, bu
    • "You could install an active scanner, like mcaffee or norton"

      yep, and watch the machine crawl or worse crash from installing these horrible products.
      Please tell me your not a consultant giving this adice to the business community.

      "You could also use clamav to filter just about anywhere. Squid has a plug-in for monitoring web-traffic, amavisd-new uses it for mail filtering, and Samba can use it for scanning incoming files on file shares"

      and then you go and redeem yourself with the best advice on Slashdot!
      • This is no joke. Our IT&T department has just forced the latest version of McAfee on us. Now everyone gets bluescreens when the McAfee service starts (DFS error). We *think* is a combination of McAfee, ClearCase and Windows XP. Apparently Microsoft has been aware of it for some time, but doesn't have a patch for public consumption.

        The workaround is to unplug your network connection(s).

        I'd managed to avoid receiving the "update" be not rebooting since it started, but I had to move desks yesterday. Now bo
  • My 2 cents (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rpbailey1642 (766298) <robert...b...pratt@@@gmail...com> on Friday September 09, 2005 @01:45PM (#13521014)
    The laptops are going to be the biggest hassle, as people tend to take them home and who knows what crap they do there. Set up a NATD gateway with DansGuardian, ClamAV, Squid, and whatever other proxies for your systems to direct their traffic out. The NAT will protect them from worms and viruses randomly scanning for IP addresses and the other programs will filter for viruses if they check Hotmail, POP, or whatever else they might use. You can set up SMB-scanning with ClamAV to randomly check the computers on your network for viruses. If you have the option, I'd recommend Deep Freeze [faronics.com] for your Windows XP computers. If more information is desired about anything I've said, please leave a message and I'll dig up information on how to configure said programs.
  • by j-turkey (187775) on Friday September 09, 2005 @01:49PM (#13521038) Homepage

    Remember that there are many different types of antivirus solutions out there. I assume that you're looking for a basic desktop virus scanner. I've heard all kinds of great things about AVG, which is supposedly free, but have no experience with it. If they are ever planning on growing their network/userbase, a managed AV client/server is the way to go. Otherwise, you have to worry about different configurations and whether or not systems are being regularly updated with the latest definitions.

    If you're looking for something on the mail gateway side, I would highly recommend looking into ClamAV [clamav.net]. The price is certainly right (free/free). Supposedly, ClamAV gets definitions for the latest and greatest viruses before commercial vendors are able to...although I have no evidence to back this claim up. The main selling points for me are first, that works. Second, it's free - there are no per-seat license fees. Third, there are no subscription models to deal with.

    I'll close with a short on-topic rant. I can't stand antivirus subscriptions. Having to track, budget for, and renew subscriptions is a huge PITA. It's not a service - it's software. I'm sort of bummed that so many people have accepted this subscription BS, enabling the vendors to keep pulling it.

    • I'll close with a short on-topic rant. I can't stand antivirus subscriptions. Having to track, budget for, and renew subscriptions is a huge PITA. It's not a service - it's software. I'm sort of bummed that so many people have accepted this subscription BS, enabling the vendors to keep pulling it.

      Use any anti-virus software with year-old definitions. Tell me how that works out for you.

      I get annoyed with the cost of maintaining desktops in my office, but AV software pays for itself the first time it keeps a
      • Use any anti-virus software with year-old definitions. Tell me how that works out for you.

        I've never had to pay for the definitions for ClamAV, which claims to publish new definitions more quickly than the commercial versions. I remain unconvinced that the subscription-based model is customer friendly in any way.

    • Supposedly, ClamAV gets definitions for the latest and greatest viruses before commercial vendors are able to...although I have no evidence to back this claim up.

      Here [sourceforge.net] ya go!

      I'd give an excerpt, but SourceForge is currently down (that's where ClamAV's [clamav.net] news is hosted). The gist is, for the most recent 50 viruses, ClamAV had the quickest response time for 77% of them. That says a lot.

  • According to recent polls [slashdot.org] the best option is "Linux or other free OS", followed closely by "Other (specify below)". :)
  • Does the site use Exchange? As a small church, probably not.

    If so, then switching to Firefox & Thunderbird would eliminate a huge vector for malware, especially if the pop-up blocker and spam filter were enabled.

    You *might* not even need AV software, although if the Linux box is the mail server, it never hurts to install SpamAssassin and ClamAV.
  • I find Symantec Enterprise answers very nicely. It can be set up with login scripts easily and will update itself day or quicker. With centralized management, it removes most worries. Cost might be an issue, but so is lost productivity. A slow old computer can do the management. You don't need to spend any money on hardware there.
    • Re:I find (Score:3, Informative)

      by QuantumRiff (120817)
      We are a school, and pay about $17/year per machine for Corporate Edition 10. A non-profit church should be similar.
      Pluses are, it now scans for malware, (thank god!), and is pretty automated.
      Minuses, I spent 35 minutes on hold on their "Enterprise support line" to get a guy to give me a username/password to download the newest build, as the one we are using crashes randomly. (why on earth do they not have an automated update functionality for the program itself?) Also requires a server, and can slow dow
  • For an organization of the small-to-medium size, I rather like Trend Micro's SMB options. It's really nice being able to administrate all of the individual AV applications from one console. It provides active scanning, and isn't a huge, bloated app that acts like the purpose of the machine it is installed on is to run the antivirus program. I've had it run quite well on many older machines without a noticable performance hit.

    Now, the drawbacks: You'll probably have to find a vendor, it won't be free (

  • some ideas (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thenerdgod (122843) on Friday September 09, 2005 @02:22PM (#13521289) Homepage
    1: I recently switched from Norton to F-Prot, as it did a better job of finding malware than Norton/Symantec. (Though, allegedly, Kaspersky has a better detection rate)
    2: f-prot pro is $44 per "user" ... you should ask about low-cost non-profit pricing. It's free for personal use on Linux.
    3: consider running one network for the desktops, and a separate network with a firewall/dansguardian/snort for laptops so the nasty visitors don't plague your permanent machines
  • Nod32 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dante333 (25148)
    I've heard a lot of good things about NOD32 http://www.nod32.com/ [nod32.com]. Its a product you gotta pay for, and it runs on windows. It doesn't seem to have the bloat that Symantec or Mcafee has. They have a free trial, so it may be worth looking at. Another good one is Panda http://www.pandasoftware.com/ [pandasoftware.com]. You will definately want to check out what they have for management options.

    Now someone mod me down cause I didn't tell them to switch to linux.
    • I'll certainly never mod you down for that. I switched too NOD32 when Kaspersky KAV4.x bloated up like Norton/Symantec, and I'm oh-so-glad I did. I've never used their enterprise stuff, but I'm so pleased with the single-machine version that I'd not hesitate to give it a try were I in the market.
      And no I don't work for NOD or Eset or whoever it is.
    • Panda is anything but a "good one."

      My girlfriend's machine (which she shared with her family) had that installed on it. After playing around with the machine for half an hour cleaning out everything I knew about, it still had issues with random pop-ups and unidentifiable processes. I went out on a limb, removed Panda (which took quite some time as it embeds itself as deep as AOL) and replaced it with AVG. Sure enough, almost all the problems went away. Between AVG being able to actually find virii and ge
  • I use AntiVir [antivir.de], though it is not free for commercial use. It's fast and easy to set up under Windows, though.
  • by Noksagt (69097)
    Run ClamAV [clamav.net] on the Linux servers. Disallow file sharing from any other machine. Have good firewall rules. Don't allow people to run as Administrator.

    This will prevent the spread of most worms. Email virii and trojans are still a concern. You might get by with running ClamWin [clamwin.com] on as much as possible. This lacks a real-time scanner, so you may still want a commercial package. All of the big names have their own pros & cons.
  • by bjprice (863197) on Friday September 09, 2005 @02:36PM (#13521407) Homepage Journal
    Your primary danger is the laptop users. A laptop will get infected at home, the luser will bring it in and jack into your network, and the infected laptop will infect all the other windows hosts if you haven't been regularly patching them, or at least some other laptops (which were out of the office when you applied the latest patch)...

    Ideally make windows clients perform a virus definitions update and then a virus scan as part of your Windows domain logon script. Make them install any outstanding Microsoft patches on logon too. Anything not on the domain doesn't get access to anything.

    Keep laptops on an entirely separate subnet from your permanently resident machines and firewall all traffic between the two, whitelisting only the ports/protocols you absolutely need.

    Then it goes without saying that you need active firewalling on the main internet gateway/router, email scanning/cleansing software on the mail server, and anti-spyware, anti-virus and maybe personal firewall software on each individual machine, as a start. Block dangerous filetypes at the web proxy. Disable any and all unnecessary Windows services, and don't let your users run with as administrators. Disable IE (don't just remove the icon - actually block it at the firewall) and Outlook (Express), install Firefox and Thunderbird or similar and keep them fully patched too.

    All of the above won't guarantee the safety of your network, but it'll help. Remember that your lusers will actively attempt to circumvent all of your security policies however they can, and that they're all pathological liars.

    As for what specific software you should use, I'd lean heavily towards Linux on all servers/routers, but can't help you on the Windows stuff. The last virus I got on an Amstrad 386 running DOS. I've been careful since then, but your users won't be - because they simply don't care.
  • by David Horn (772985) <{gro.remagtekcop} {ta} {divad}> on Friday September 09, 2005 @02:51PM (#13521533) Homepage
    Surely the Lord will keep your laptops virus free?

    Thank you. I'm here all week.
  • My choice... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stienman (51024) <[adavis] [at] [ubasics.com]> on Friday September 09, 2005 @03:03PM (#13521623) Homepage Journal
    After looking at several options (including trendmicro, norton, etc) I finally went with Sophos. Their AV line covers servers (NT, Novell, Linux, etc) through desktops, and has central management of all installations. Auto update (hourly, if you want) and all the features the other corporate editions of virus software had.

    In either case, all these companies will give you trial software. Try each one out and find the one that you feel comfortable dealing with. In a small company it might be fine to use individual licenses (such as a bunch of boxed mcaffees) but when users start getting messages about expiration, or errors about incomplete updates it only makes your job harder. My setup involved 14 licenses (a few servers and a bunch of workstations) and the users never needed to deal with the software. I was also able to prevent them from turning it off or uninstalling it as well (for all but the most determined, anyway) and if they did mess with it I was alerted.

    Your situation may be different, so try out several different companies. As a point of reference, my 14 licenses cost about $1,100 for two years. $40/year/computer may seem excessive, but when you start looking at corporate licensing from some other companies and the cost of recovery from a major virus break because a user disabled theirs to install a flash game then it is favorable by comparison.

    As a non-profit, AVG might still be free for you (requires payment for commercial use). You may also find that other companies have discounts for non-profit or charitable entities, especially those located in your own country as they can deduct taxes.

    Good luck.

    -Adam
  • My small business has a mixed bag of computers of various ages with Windows XP, Me and 98, within which most of the big antivirus names are simply hopeless. (Won't upgrade cleanly, won't load on 98 or without IE6, hog lotsa memory, etc.) We tried AVAST (free for home use, moderate price for commercial) and love it -- superb product. However, nowadays, a firewall takes primacy over an antivirus program, so what actually got our money was Zone Labs antivirus suite (low price, high performance). Daily viru
  • Basically, I am doing the exact same thing. Currently, they have 8 systems, 1 server, no wireless. I installed Norton AV on all of them last year, for around $100. Worked out fairly nice, Norton was offering 3 user packs for 19.99 after rebates. So it was like $6.00 per installation.

    However, since norton has not released 2006 before the subscriptions on these systems were up, and $35 per machine was a little too much, I have been looking into CA eTrust. We already use it at one site, and it works really wel
  • I've had good experiences with Trend Micro, apart from their complete lack of tech support response. My experience shows that Trend Micro works at least as well as Norton Antivirus with SIGNIFICANTLY less drain on the system resources.

    AVG is worth looking at though as others have pointed out, it won't be free for you.
    • i used pc-cilin at home and I was very impressed with it. Unfortunately it's subscription based, but so are all its commercial couterparts
  • NOD32 (Score:3, Informative)

    by samdu (114873) <[samdu] [at] [ronintech.com]> on Friday September 09, 2005 @05:34PM (#13522897) Homepage
    I used to recommend McAfee. And then they started writing crap software. So I started recommending Norton. And then THEY started writing crap software. I use AVG at home and I'd recommend it without hesitation to home users. But the best Anti-virus on the planet at the moment is humble NOD32. It consistently scores above all the others, catches more viruses and returns fewer false positives. It's not too expensive, either. About $35-$40 a seat (US).

    On the Linux side, I'd recommend AntiVir. It works. You might be asking why you'd need anti-virus on a Linux box. If it's serving files to Windows clients, it can still CARRY the viruses even if it can't be infected. It's best to have the server side covered if at all possible in case a workstation misses something.
  • centrally managed or nod32
  • I choose Sophos http://www.sophos.com/ [sophos.com] as other payforuse AntiVirus packages made our Desktop 486 machines just grind to a halt. So not taking up processing power was important for me and Sophos just won the day.

    It has multple OS support!!! It almost became an obsession to have as many OS's an my network as possible just to see sophos on them all:-)

    I just loved the .ide downloading, so small are these files, so we run in full paranoid mode (every 20 minutes) the client machines check with OUR central serv

  • I use Panda WebAdmin [pandasoftware.com] on about 50 workstations, 8 laptops, and several windows servers. It works great, and you can log in anytime to see the current status of all the machines (even laptops). Luv it.... Although I wish they would release a *nix client as well
  • I would suggest McAfee SMB. The 8.0i version has some nice features Basic Firewall, Buffer Overflow Protection(I can't say how well this actually works but hey at least it's trying to stop one of the most common reasons for security holes.), and of course anti-spyware. Also I believe the package comes with an version for linux but don't quote me on that cus it's been a long week and my brain has started to do the shutdown thing.

    It also comes with a stripped down version of ePolicy Orchastrator called Pro

  • ...read that as Vista Prevention in the small/medium business. If only...
  • The first thing to remember is that a Virus Scanner is primarily a reactive tool. While it is a necessary evil it does not replace the more important proactive measures which will decrease the need of virus scanning exponentially. Important proactive measures include:
    • Start by ensuring that you are running software you trust, in particular eliminate Internet Explorer and Outlook/Outlook Express.
    • Next install a good firewall for your office with a default deny policy and only enable services needed for e
  • I'm sure people will name some good virus scanning packages, so I'm going to suggest a few extra procedures that you should use if possible:

    @ Segment your laptops off onto their own LAN. This should only cost as much as a new Ethernet card in your router, maybe a few more wires and time for configuration. Set a restrictive egress policy (maybe only allow port 80 and enable the rest on request), to minimise random virus port usage and other evils such as P2P programs.

    @ Turn off or minimise use to IE. ActiveX
  • by Evro (18923)
    What's wrong with Norton Antivirus Corporate?
  • I setup a proxy for my nieces, forbidding the download of the following things:

    acl downloads rep_mime_type -i ^application/unknown$
    acl downloads rep_mime_type -i ^application/octet-stream$
    acl downloads rep_mime_type -i ^application/zip$
    #acl downloads rep_mime_type -i ^application/x-javascript$
    acl downloads rep_mime_type ^$
    #acl downloads rep_mime_type -i ^image/gif$
    acl downloads-url urlpath_regex -i \.exe$
    acl downloads-url urlpath_regex -i \.zip$
    acl downloads-url urlpath_regex -i \.dll$
    acl downloads-url urlp
  • If you can set up a Windows 2003 SBS Avast! for SMB is the way to go. It is cheaper than the normal version of Avast! for Server because it is for Small Businesses, and works amazingly well (especially when compared to the offerings by companies like McAfee and Symantec). If you could somehow get your hands on a copy of Win2k3 SBS, set up an Active Directory and deploy Avast! that way you would be very happy. If not, just buy Avast! Professional for the Windows XP laptops and then Avast for Unix/Linux Se
  • I went looking for centrally administered AV solution a few months ago and settled on Kaspersky because:

    1 - Detection rates are supposed to be very good.
    2 - The price was great.
    3 - Linux support is on par with Windows.
    4 - Administration is done from a single (unfortunately Windows only) PC.
    5 - Companies like Astaro Security Linux license the Kaspersky scanner.
    6 - Kaspersky had one of the first mail scanners for Sendmail, Postfix, etc.

    This project was funded because a day after I started a trojan infected th
  • It'll get you a huge discount on software purchases. Honestly, keep a Windows Server around, install NAV Enterprise, and keep things clean and small. If you get the chance, move to Virtual Server or VMWare so you can do seperate servers but without having to but extra hardware.
  • If you are going to protect your network, you need to protect from all currently known avenues of attack.

    First the boring but necessary stuff (Topics 1-7). (Really important stuff follows in Topic 8):

    1. We use Grisoft at the office (not free for commercial use, but it works and is relatively low cost). We make sure that EVERY server and PC has antivirus AND firewall. We also add Microsoft's anti-spyware to all Windows PCs. We also run ad-aware or spybot against all files about once a month.

    2. The b

  • As you are a non-profit, you may be able to purchase software from techsoup ( http://www.techsoup.org/ [techsoup.org] ). This is a non profit that helps other non profits with technology questions. They also have corporate partners who will provide licenses at lower costs.

    It still would help to filter at the mail server, as per the numerous suggestions for ClamAV and spamassassin.

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