Eset's NOD 32 Evolves Beyond Virus Protection

By Lauren Simonds | Posted May 02, 2005

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Keeping up-to-date with the number and variety of digital threats can be a daunting task for any business, but especially for small businesses that lack a full-time, dedicated IT staff. In what now seem to be "the good old days" of barely a year ago, installing a decent virus protection program meant you could breath easier knowing your systems were reasonably safe from attack.

But computer threats are evolving and proliferating at an alarming rate to the point where antivirus software alone just isn't enough. Recognizing that reality, Eset today announced NOD32 version 2.5, an updated iteration of its anti-virus software that now includes protection against a host of digital vermin including spyware, adware, Trojans and phishing attacks.

According to Dr. Anton Zajac, Eset's president and CEO, version 2.5 provides a unified anti-threat solution. "Computer security is not just about viruses anymore," he said. "NOD32 uses a single engine to protect desktops and networks against viruses as well as other serious threats like phishing and spyware." Zajac noted the need for expanding coverage beyond viruses saying that, "out of the 34 million e-mail we scan per day, one million of them are phishing attacks."

Identifying the Enemy
Like the earlier version, NOD32 looks for threats using a combination of behavior-based (heuristic) and signature-based scanning. Behavior-based scanning is proactive — meaning that the scanning takes place in real time. The software looks for behavior it knows to be threatening and gets better and more accurate the longer it's used.

In signature-based scanning, the software receives hourly updates (on the latest discovered threats) from Eset's database. It then examines files and attachments for known code or "signatures" that identify them as malicious or questionable.


NOD32

Version 2.5 adds a new dimension to the mix — generic signatures. As explained by Zajac, viruses and other malware evolve, much like real viruses. Just as the flu from one season can mutate into a similar but different variation, so too can computer threats — and they do so much more rapidly. Generic signatures can identify mutated or otherwise modified versions of already known viruses. Zajac asserts that adding generic signature scanning to the mix makes NOD32 able to find and identify more viruses faster.

Perimeter Protection
The new version also provides new and expanded ways to protect your data. Zajac says the multipoint protection feature scans any files that come to your PC or network via the Internet, e-mail, FTP site, disk or even the USB port — handy protection for companies that use USB flash drives.

The software also cleans threats from restore points. According to Rick Moy, Eset's vice-president of sales and marketing, other anti-virus solutions don't clean out the restore points on your PC. "If your system crashed and you had to roll back your PC to an earlier point in time, you run the risk of re-infecting your computer," he said. "The new version of NOD32 goes back and eliminates malware and creates a clean system at every restore point you've set."

Moy also pointed out that NOD32 protects you even when you're on the road. "Simply log in to Eset's servers while you're traveling, and receive your updates for free," he said.

Community Participation
In addition to the new software, Eset also launched ThreatSense.NET, an online early warning system. The free, optional service provides information gathered from two-way communication between NOD32 customers and the company's lab.

The idea, according to Zajac, is that customers can choose to automatically send Eset's researchers anonymous data about new threats that NOD32 detected on their PCs. "Our researchers use the data to enhance the heuristic engine's capabilities, and that lets us improve the protection level for our customers around the world."

Frustration Factor
Zajac understands how little time and attention small business owners have to deal with issues like installing and managing software. "We made our software easy to use," he said. "Installing NOD32 v. 2.5 from our Web site to a desktop takes 15 seconds, and you'll get it set up on a network within five minutes." He said they designed the software so that you can deploy, manage and generate reports from one central screen.

Moy pointed out that the software requires only 20MB of memory. "The low-memory means that NOD32 won't interfere with your system performance. It has a very small footprint," he said. The software is compatible with Windows, Linux, Novell and DOS systems.

Pricing
Eset hasn't changed the price for this updated version. NOD32 still costs $39 per year for a single desktop — annual group pricing rates follow. For larger groups, contact Eset.

Group Pricing

  • Five licenses: $261 per year
  • 10 licenses: $369 per year
  • 25 licenses: $735 per year
  • 50 licenses: $1,495 per year

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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