SentryBay locks down e-mail viruses

The rise of fast-spreading e-mail viruses is driving the need for software that does a better job than conventional antivirus products of stopping viruses from replicating themselves.

To that end, SentryBay Corp. took the wraps off ViraLock, software that blocks e-mail viruses from spreading. The software encrypts addresses found in e-mail programs so viruses cannot be replicated, according to company officials. ViraLock was unveiled Sept. 10 at the Networld+Interop trade show in Atlanta.

ViraLock is the missing half of virus protection, said Marcus Whittington, vice president of marketing for Newport, Calif.-based SentryBay. Most antivirus software focuses on detection and prevention and has to be updated to address new strains of viruses. A growing number of viruses can enter computers without being detected, so ViraLock prevents the virus from leaving the system, Whittington said.

ViraLock is positioned between the e-mail program and the server, intercepting e-mail being sent from and received by a desktop. The software automatically encrypts all existing e-mail addresses and those added later to the address book as well as folders of the e-mail program. Outgoing messages, intercepted when the user sends e-mail, are decrypted before being passed on to the mail server. A virus searching for e-mail addresses won't find any valid addresses, and thus can't replicate itself.

Because the "focus is on [blocking] replication, users still need antivirus and firewall" protection, Whittington said.

As a result, ViraLock works with virus protection software such as Symantec Corp.'s Norton AntiVirus and McAfee.com Corp.'s VirusScan and supports Microsoft Corp. Outlook and Outlook Express. Future versions will support Netscape Communications Corp., Qualcomm Inc.'s Eudora, Pegasus Mail and Juno Online Services Inc.

The company is developing an enterprise version, scheduled for availability by year's end, for e-mail servers that will support Microsoft Exchange, Oracle Corp. and Lotus Development Corp. Notes. Future versions of ViraLock will prevent the spread of viruses through instant messaging, personal digital assistants, and mobile phones.

ViraLock will be available for download Oct 15 via SentryBay's Web site (www.viralock.com). The product costs $19.95 for a single-user license.

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