Although F-Secure may not be the first name in anti-virus that springs to mind, its products are among the heaviest hitters in the industry. Unlike some products which depend purely on their signature lists to be updated, F-Secure also comprises multiple scanning engines and heuristic detection techniques that make it one of the first products to detect new viruses. The company has now brought its expertise to bear in email security with F-Secure Anti-Virus for Internet Mail.
The product is available for Windows (NT and 2000). A Unix version would be nice, although there is a version for Unix which sits at the firewall level. Installation presented no headaches. However because of the way the product works, disk and memory requirements are quite high. It is also better to share the scanning across more than one scanner server to keep bandwidth usage lower.
There are two primary components to F-Secure - the agent and the content scanner. These can be installed on the same server or different servers. The former cuts down bandwidth but requires quite a hefty server, while the latter offers more reliability but at the expense of increased bandwidth.
All incoming and outgoing emails are intercepted by the agent, which spools them. Any suspicious attachments or imbedded code are then stripped out and sent to the content scanner. Three anti-virus engines - F-PROT, AVP and ORION - have heuristic features that look for viruses. If one is found it will attempt to remove it. If successful, the disinfected data - along with a scan report - is then passed back to the agent which reassembles the email and sends it on its way. Although the process is highly automated, the product allows for extensive reporting and alerting.
For organizations that require high availability, the product has the facility to be installed on a back-up server, allowing for seamless fail-over if the primary server does not respond.
The product is supplied with a library of manuals in PDF format, and ample support is also provided by telephone and email.
Given that F-Secure is often the first product to detect new viruses, it is reassuring to have that vigilance at the email gateway.