Microsoft Helps in Distribution of Antivirus Software for Y2K

Today, several antivirus vendors banded together with Microsoft Corp. to provide free, fully functional anti-virus software to companies preparing for Y2K.

The vendors claim that widespread use of anti-virus software provides increased protection against Y2K-related viruses, hoaxes and other malicious files.

Don Jones, Y2K product manager at Microsoft, says that Microsoft expects hackers to use Y2K as a springboard.

"Y2K-related hoaxes and viruses could be the single most destructive aspect of Y2K," he says. "And we’ve seen an increase in viruses, and an increase in beta viruses."

Jones points to recent examples of viruses and hoaxes – such as Melissa, Y2Kcount.exe and a hoax e-mail claiming it was from Bill Gates that erased the victim’s hard drive – as possibilities for the types of attacks companies can expect at the turn of the century.

Microsoft recommends that customers install the anti-virus software of their choice and check the manufacturer's Web site periodically for updated virus signature files. These files can change daily in response to new viruses.

Vendors involved in the program include: Central Command Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Data Fellows Corp., Network Associates Inc., Norman ASA, Panda Software, Sophos Inc., Symantec Corp. and Trend Micro Inc.

Each of the vendors has it’s own distinct version of free antivirus software, and Jones says Microsoft is not pushing customers toward any specific product or company.

Each vendor will support its product. Microsoft coordinated the availability of the free software programs, and now its role is merely in making the software available for customers.

Versions from all the companies are available at Microsoft's Year 2000 Web site at or from the respective anti-virus firms' sites from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 1999. Once downloaded, the anti-virus software is available for 90 days.

After 90 days, the software time-bombs but, of course, it is available for purchase from the vendor. – Thomas Sullivan

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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