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Ihug offers e-mail free of viruses, spam and adult content


August 28, 2001

Ihug is about to launch a "clean e-mail" service, which will include optional server-side scanning for viruses, spam and adult content.

"There are hundreds of viruses and worms going around, and some time ago we decided we'd take a stronger line on this," said ihug director Tim Wood.

"People are fed up with having to pay hundreds of dollars for an anti-virus package and then finding they have to update it with downloads all the time.

"This is a much easier way of doing it. We will take care of everything."

Mr Wood said several internet service providers already scanned e-mail for widespread viruses during serious outbreaks, but ihug's service, to be launched tomorrow under the brand I-Spy, would be more effective and comprehensive.

"We'll be scanning e-mails on the servers on our network so viruses will be removed before our customers receive them."

He confirmed that ihug had signed a contract with anti-virus software company Trend Micro this month.

Anti-spam blocking would be provided in conjunction with a United States company, but Mr Wood would not reveal its name before the contract, which was expected to be signed today, had been confirmed.

An ihug spokeswoman said I-Spy's Family Filter, set to screen web content for adult material, would be similar in aim but would work differently to its previously offered Kids.net filtering service.

The Trend Micro Australia New Zealand managing director, Chris Poulos, said at least two other local service providers, Xtra and Clear Net, were in talks with his company.

"Viruses are best controlled as close to the source as possible. That means the gateway," said Mr Poulos.

"In recent outbreaks, users' PCs have been infected even though they were running anti-viral software. This shows they haven't been able to, or they haven't bothered to, keep their virus patterns up to date."

The Symantec intrusion prevention product manager, Andy Norton, said his company was also in discussions with local ISPs.

While Symantec had previously concentrated on desktop anti-virus products, it had signed a contract with US-based internet portal Yahoo! to provide anti-virus scanning on its web-based e-mail servers.

Mr Norton admitted that some businesses using Symantec products had been caught out by the Sircam virus.

But he said it was up to companies to make sure they followed instructions to keep their viral definitions up to date.

By MICHAEL FOREMAN, Copyright © 2001, NZ Herald


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