Savvy customers of one internet service provider would have been protected from the “Naked Wife” Trojan worm.
Auckland ISP Watchdog has extended its content filtering service from websites to cover email, and founder Peter Mancer says he could have saved firms from the latest publicised worm virus, last week’s "Naked Wife".
W32.Naked@mm is a mass mailing worm that disguises itself as flash movie. The attachment is named NakedWife.exe. This worm, after it attempts to email everyone in the Microsoft Outlook address book, will attempt to delete several system files. This leaves the system unusable, requiring a re-install, says anti-virus firm Symantec.
The 18-month-old Watchdog began as FamilyNet but changed its name last year to gain trade from the business market. The ISP filters net traffic for 100 New Zealand schools and 30 businesses. Its ISY service blocks certain words on the URL to ensure web traffic is removed of potentially offensive material. MailWatch works by blocking selected words, attachments, spam and bulk email.
Mancer says if “naked” is a banned word at a firm, Naked Wife would have been blocked, or if a customer had requested all .exe attachments be filtered out, that too would stop the virus. When offensive emails are sent, the banned words are censored and replaced by the word "filtered". The sender, receiver and administrator of the systems are then informed.
Filtering attachments reduces the risk of viruses and problems from excessive traffic, Mancer says. Overseas surveys have shown people surfing the net at work for up to two hours a day. Not only does this hit productivity, it also lays employers open to potential legal action, he says.
Trent Bradley, owner of Auckland finance brokers Bradley Associates, describes the internet filter as “fantastic”.
It can be “a pain in the arse” in blocking out more than he would like, he says, but it reduces distractions for staff, such as rude jokes. “It helps you focus on the work. I would never go back now. It has cleaned up everything,” he says.
Peter Muir, chief executive of Cambridge farmstay company Rural Tourism, is also happy with the web filtering, but he too finds it blocks out too much, like a TAB newsletter, because it features betting. “It’s just a minor thing,” he says.
Greg Fleming of Parenting With Confidence says he recommends it to all parents at his classes “to ensure the internet service at their home is safe, given the amount of rubbish on the internet”.
However, MailWatch may not be so successful. Bradley says his mail is already filtered, Muir says he will think about using it and Fleming says his staff receive “nothing dodgy”.