NCSA, Microsoft join In anti-virus initiative

The National Computer Security Association (NCSA) and Microsoft have announced the launch of a virus prevention program. Aimed at anti-virus software vendors, the Macro Virus Prevention Initiative will seek to provide information and support for those building tools to detect and neutralise macro viruses in Microsoft applications, according to NCSA officials.

The National Computer Security Association (NCSA) and Microsoft have announced the launch of a virus prevention program.

Aimed at anti-virus software vendors, the Macro Virus Prevention Initiative will seek to provide information and support for those building tools to detect and neutralise macro viruses in Microsoft applications, according to NCSA officials.

The NCSA is an independent, international organization which seeks to facilitate communication between computer industry players.

The NCSA and Microsoft will manage a Web site, found at http://www.microsoft.com/office/antivirus/, where PC users can get information about virus prevention.

Microsoft has pledged to provide advance information on its new products to companies which sign non-disclosure agreements and which plan to develop antivirus tools for Microsoft products, according to Larry Bridwell, anti-virus products manager for the NCSA. This should help alleviate the typical lag time between when a product is released and when antivirus tools become available for it, Bridwell says. Microsoft will provide the advance information both directly to developers and via a secure newsgroup which will be managed by NCSA, Bridwell says.

In addition, Microsoft and the NCSA will launch a joint effort to eliminate "false positive" results when scanning Microsoft applications, Bridwell says. False positives occur when an antivirus tool flags code which looks very similar to, but is not, a virusd. MIS directors or IS staff must nonetheless investigate, which costs time and money, he says.

With false positives, "you end up spending almost the same dollars and down time as you would with a real virus," Bridwell says.

The NCSA can be reached on the Web at http:www.ncsa.com/.

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