BitDefender Updates Linux Security Software

Up-and-coming European security software player BitDefender has updated both its Linux-based perimeter protection security suite and its Linux Edition solution for antivirus scanning on Linux and FreeBSD platforms.

The company’s new products highlight the latest filtering protection for Windows and Unix systems, mail and file servers and also the growing number of software vulnerabilities being targeted towards Linux operating systems, a danger many Linux users and administrators may not be adequately addressing, BitDefender Product Manager Alex Balan told LinuxInsider.

“In my personal opinion, there is need for concern,” said Balan, a self-described Linux administrator and fan, “because Linux, just like any other server, needs attention.”

Security Update

BitDefender last week offered up two major updates to its security software, which is a market leader among small to medium businesses (SMBs) in Europe and has made inroads in the U.S. and elsewhere.

First, the company made available its new Enterprise Security Suite for mail and file servers running Samba or FreeBSD. The new Linux-based security software is designed for high-traffic mail servers, incorporating antivirus, anti-spam, and anti-spyware filtering, the company said.

BitDefender also released its latest Linux Edition command line antivirus scanner for Linux and FreeBSD servers, dubbed BitDefender for Unices. The on-demand scanner can be used for administrative tasks or scheduling, and can be integrated with file managers, mail clients, services and portals using scripts and extensions.

Integration and Performance

The main focus of the updates were compatibility and performance, according to Balan, who indicated the new BitDefender software was now fully compatible with Unix, Linux and FreeBSD standards, as well as popular package managers mail servers.

“We made the client fully compliant with any demands that could come from a security administrator,” he said.

A substantial portion of the updated software is dedicated to performance, Balan added, stressing BitDefender’s efforts to balance its antivirus engine with the operating system.

Balan also indicated BitDefender reduces security administrator stress and security exposure by running all of its processes as a non-privileged user.

Hacker Ratio and Risk

While he pointed to viruses and spam on Windows servers as the main focus of BitDefender’s solutions, Balan said Linux operating systems were increasingly a target of attackers.

Acknowledging the difficulty of keeping up to date on software vulnerabilities and exploits, Balan said security on any server must be a priority, particularly with the increasing number of “hackers and script kiddies.”

“I can tell you for sure, it’s never enough,” he said. “If you look at the ratio of hackers and script kiddies to administrators who are responsible enough to take care of their machines, the balance at this point is in favor of the hackers and script kiddies.”

Smugness Security Hole

Linux is predominantly a server solution, and because companies host critical applications on Linux servers, they should be well protected, IT-Harvest Founder and Chief Analyst Richard Stiennon told LinuxInsider. However, despite its security advantages, Linux may suffer from skepticism about vulnerabilities and a self-complacent attitude among admins and users, Stiennon added.

“The two hand-in-glove dangers of Linux administrators are smugness and complacency,” he said.

Stiennon said it is impossible for administrators to keep up with all of the vulnerabilities uncovered every day, but IT pros, including those running Linux, must still stay focused on security.

“If you’re sitting with no layers of defense, you’re in trouble,” he said.

Focused on Growth

BitDefender has a good reputation in the IT security community, particularly in Europe. Though the company faces an uphill battle taking on the likes of antivirus giants Symantec and McAfee, it has managed to translate better technology into more market share, Stiennon said.

BitDefender’s Balan said the company is focused on further growth, and is moving into the U.S. market with SMBs and larger customers such as Internet service providers (ISPs), Web hosts, and other service providers

“We’re looking at the SMB market [in the U.S.] and looking to move not too aggressively, but not too slow,” he said.

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