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New Web site security scanner will read your HDD

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Internet Security Systems (ISS), is offering an on-line scanner for Web sites which surveys users’ hard drives to detect any potentially dangerous programs, such as Trojans and viruses, that may have been placed on the machine without their knowledge. The ISS Online Scanner will automatically test individual computers, identify security weaknesses, and provide users with easy-to- follow instructions for fixing security problems. It looks at the overall configuration of a computer and recommends changes that can help prevent unwanted intruders from reading or changing sensitive personal files or from enabling an attacker to use the computer as a 'zombie' machine to launch more broad-based Internet attacks. "The importance of offering scalable security management solutions to companies that want best-of-breed technology is critical to the success of protecting the Internet economy," ISS Vice President of Enterprise Software Keith Cooley said. "It is imperative that organizations can easily implement the processes and technologies needed to automatically monitor and respond to security risks. As the industry’s leading trusted security provider, ISS is strengthening our unique security software platform to ensure safe and uninterrupted e-business for our customers worldwide," he crooned. The ISS application will use Active-X technology to scan a visitor's machine and wipe out any undesirable code. The company acknowledges that use of scanning applications by Web sites could be controversial. But we don't see much of a problem with it. Sites that offer it as a free, voluntary service will do themselves and their customers a favour. Sites foolish enough to require it as a condition of visiting or doing business will find themselves paying a heavy price in gross revenues, as the vast majority of Web surfers are sure to be repelled by it. 'Market forces' should be adequate to keep this a relatively harmless little gimmick. ®

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