Command Software renames, beefs up anti-virus offering

Command Software Systems Inc. has upgraded and renamed its anti-virus software product, adding new scan technology that detects and automatically destroys the newest generation of macro viruses that infect Microsoft Corp. Word and Excel documents.

Command AntiVirus with F-PROT Professional, formerly called Command's F-PROT Professional, also has added CSS Central, a network administration tool, to the product. CSS Central gives systems managers the ability to deploy automatic updates of the latest virus signature files and concentrates all setup options on a single server or workstation.

Command Software began selling software products to agencies about 10 years ago and now has a "significant installed base" in the government, including the federal courts, the Energy Department and the Navy, said Dyan Dyer, chief executive officer of Command Software.

Micro Viruses

The scan technology in Command Anti-Virus with F-PROT Professional uses Command Software's HoloCheck technology to track down and disinfect the newest macro and polymorphic viruses. Macro viruses affect any application that can create a macro, making Word and Excel especially vulnerable. Polymorphic viruses can affect any file and change as they move from PC to PC and from file to file.

HoloCheck focuses on macro viruses and their polymorphic characteristics, said Pam Oppenheim, director of product management at the Jupiter, Fla.-based company. The technology creates a virtual environment in which code is observed before it is opened on the PC. If the software finds abnormal code, then a part of HoloCheck called the behavior blocker kicks in and, depending on how the user has configured the software, either notifies him of the unusual code or prevents the software from launching.

The advantage of the behavior blocker is that it prevents false positives, which are always a concern because if they occur too frequently, users tend to turn the software off, Oppenheim said.

"If vendors can find a way to control [false positives], then that's fantastic," said Jonathan Wheat, senior analyst at International Computer Security Association in Carlisle, Pa. "It almost causes more damage for a user to find a false positive because it takes a lot of time to determine that there's no virus present."

The anti-virus software is available on Command Software's General Services Administration schedule for $51, which includes one year of maintenance.

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