Trend Micro, Inc. (Nasdaq: TMIC), a provider of virus protection and security services, has debuted a new online virus scanning service that is intended to enhance Internet Service Provider (ISP) offerings and increase its strength in the antivirus solution market.
Last week, Taiwan’s HiNet ISP was the first to use its Web site to deliver the HouseCall antivirus scanning service to its one million-plus customers. The service is currently available through Trend Micro for no charge.
“ISPs are increasingly looking for new ways to generate revenue,” commented Trend Micro CEO Steve Chang. “Trend Micro’s HouseCall online virus scanning service is the perfect addition to an ISP’s product line since it provides a needed service that can be purchased on impulse.”
HouseCall allows customers to check their computers while online, configuring their preferences and utilizing an ActiveX control or Java for the scanning. Infected files, according to Trend Micro, can be cleaned, moved or deleted. Additionally, users can send particularly difficult or unique files directly to Trend Micro’s antivirus engineers “for manual cleaning.”
“ISPs already have the billing system and hardware infrastructure, so it’s a way for them to create a new income stream with very little up-front investment,” added Chang. “And we’ve found that hosting the HouseCall service makes an ISP stand out from competitors in the increasingly competitive Internet access business.”
Under the terms of the agreement, HouseCall will be hosted on HiNet’s home page. HiNet customers will be charged an unspecified but nominal fee on their monthly invoice for scanning services, and additional charges will come into play if infection is detected.
“The agreement with HiNet is just one of several that Trevnd Micro expects to forge before the end of the year,” said Chang. “People are spending more time online and the software industry is embracing a web delivery model.”
E-Mail and Virus Combat
Trend Micro was also recently granted a U.S. patent for the technology behind its ScanMail e-mail antivirus scanning software products. The patent involves the company’s method, which scans e-mail attachments for the presence of computer viruses while simultaneously minimizing the load on e-mail servers.
“Years ago, Trend Micro saw how the proliferation of e-mail systems was opening a new entry point for computer viruses on corporate networks,” stated Chang. “With the Melissa and Explorer/Zip virus outbreaks earlier this year, I believe that IT managers everywhere will be re-thinking their antivirus strategy.”
An International Computer Security Association study indicated that infected e-mail attachments account for more than 50 percent of corporate virus infections. According to the study, only 50 percent of companies have antivirus software installed on all of their e-mail servers.
New Worm Advisory
Virus researchers on a German hacker’s Web site recently discovered a new worm-like virus named “Cholera,” which has the potential to overload e-mail servers. Cholera poses a dual threat, according to researchers, because it is a worm that delivers a virus payload. Users are encouraged to check with the makers of their antivirus software for fix information.