SAN FRANCISCO, April 14, 2003 — Today at the annual RSA Conference, Microsoft Corp. announced three new technology enhancements designed to help antivirus vendors provide customers with deeper levels of protection against viruses and worms as well as improve the performance of virus-scanning engines. These technologies, developed in close collaboration with the antivirus vendor community, include new antivirus APIs for Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003, enhanced virus scanning capabilities for Microsoft Office Word 2003 and a new Windows®
File System Filter Manager Architecture designed to simplify the antivirus software development process and improve overall system reliability.
“Customers told us they needed more comprehensive antivirus protection at all levels of their computing infrastructure,”
said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Security Business Unit at Microsoft.
“I’m excited that our work with industry partners will help customers have a safer, more trustworthy computing experience.”
For messaging customers, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, due for release in mid-2003, will feature Virus Scan API (VSAPI) version 2.5, an enhanced antivirus API designed to give customers added confidence in the security and integrity of their e-mail infrastructures. Specifically, VSAPI 2.5 will allow antivirus solutions to scan e-mail messages at a network’s point of entry to prevent malicious content from reaching the Exchange mailbox servers. This enhancement also will help prevent infected e-mail from leaving an organization by scanning all outgoing messages.
“With these enhancements, Microsoft is enabling Computer Associates to offer customers an improved user experience and even more robust support for Windows and Microsoft applications, further reducing the risks associated with viruses and other forms of malicious code,”
said Ron Moritz, senior vice president and chief security strategist at Computer Associates International Inc.
“This interoperability exemplifies the collaborative efforts of Computer Associates and Microsoft in protecting our mutual enterprise customers.”
Microsoft Office Word 2003, set to be released later this year, will include technology enhancements that allow virus scanners to quickly and effectively scan the W3C-compliant native Word XML file format. Microsoft worked with antivirus researchers to add three flags to the header of documents saved in the native Word XML file format that will allow virus scanning software to more quickly determine if a document contains potentially dangerous embedded objects or macros and remove them if necessary.
“Microsoft has been a longtime partner and advocate of the antivirus industry,”
said Lily de Los Rios, vice president of product delivery at Symantec Corp.
“Symantec worked closely with the Office team to identify and resolve the antivirus challenges in the Word XML format, resulting in tangible performance and security benefits to our mutual customers. We are also working closely with Microsoft on enhancing our products with the antivirus and antispam APIs in Exchange 2003 to create a full-featured and secure messaging solution for our customers.”
The new Windows File System Filter Manager Architecture simplifies the antivirus software development process and improves overall system reliability by providing a core engine into which antivirus software providers can plug a variety of
file system filter drivers. A key advantage of this new architecture is that it allows users to freely mix and match antivirus scanners more reliably, enhancing performance and providing greater resiliency to attacks. In addition, it offers simplification of the antivirus code and enables antivirus companies to more easily extend their products to deeper levels in the operating system. Microsoft has involved a wide range of antivirus software vendors in the design process for the new Windows File System Filter Manager Architecture and has been able to incorporate a great deal of industry feedback into it.
“Microsoft’s close involvement in the creation of new APIs at the operating system level will help us continue building more comprehensive antivirus solutions that ensure greater protection for customers, both now and in the future,”
said Ryan McGee, director of product marketing for McAfee Security at Network Associates Technology Inc.
More details can be found on the Microsoft Security Business Unit home page at http://www.microsoft.com/security/ .
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