Trend Micro, WatchGuard Partner Against Internet Virus Threats

Anti-virus solutions provider Trend Micro, Inc. (Nasdaq: TMIC) has entered into a strategic alliance with WatchGuard Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: WGRD) to push its InterScan VirusWall product.

WatchGuard, a provider of Internet broadcast security solutions, will add InterScan VirusWall to the services offered through a new channel of its LiveSecurity Broadcast. The broadcast, which will also include real-time virus alerts, is set to debut in October. Additionally, Trend Micro will join WatchGuard’s LiveSecurity Alliance, an open industry technology and marketing initiative.

“The LiveSecurity Alliance consists of a line-up of Internet security (providers) protecting organizations that use the Internet for electronic commerce and communications,” commented Todd Hooper, vice president of business development at WatchGuard Technologies. “Our alliance with Trend Micro will enable WatchGuard customers to easily purchase Trend software and receive real-time virus alerts through WatchGuard’s LiveSecurity Broadcast Service.”

The WatchGuard security broadcast service intends to use Trend Micro’s technology to protect users from e-mail-borne viruses and malicious mobile code. “By combining our strengths,” added Hooper, “we’re making the Internet safer for all of our customers.”

E-Mail and Virus Transmission

A report issued by the International Computer Security Association indicated that more than 50 percent of corporate virus infections are traceable back to infected e-mail message attachments. Additionally, the international financial damages attributed to computer virus infections during the first half of this year was estimated by Computer Economics, Inc. to be $7.6 billion (US$).

Companies rely heavily on e-mail, and thus place themselves at risk, according to Trend Micro. “Years ago, we saw how the proliferation of e-mail systems was opening a new entry point for computer viruses on corporate networks,” stated Trend Micro CEO Steve Chang. “With the Melissa and Explorer/Zip virus outbreaks earlier this year, I believe that IT managers everywhere will be re-thinking their anti-virus strategy.”

Trend Micro and the Internet’s Infrastructure

Speaking this week at the 1999 Fortune Global Forum, Chang said in an address that anti-virus solutions — after moving first into desktops, then servers and Internet gateways — will be built into the infrastructure of the Internet. Telecoms, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and others will be able to host anti-virus protection.

“No longer transmitting solely through floppy diskettes, viruses now travel, via the Internet, around the world,” said Chang. “The growth of e-commerce, combined with more sophisticated virus threats, is revolutionizing the anti-virus market.”

According to Chang and Trend Micro, many e-commerce operations have a lack of in-house content security expertise, so IT managers are looking to outsource such functions.

Earlier this month, Trend Micro debuted a new online virus scanning service that is intended to enhance ISP offerings. HouseCall, available for free through Trend Micro’s Web site, is now available as a paid service to some surfers through their ISPs.

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