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The Government has signed up managed services firm MessageLabs to protect Whitehall departments against mass-mailing viruses, in a deal worth over £1 million a year.

The GSI (Government Secure Intranet), which provides the secure network infrastructure for all Government departments, decided to take on additional anti-virus protection due to the recent growth in mass mailing virus outbreaks. Increased sensitivity about security risks post-September 11 was also a factor in convincing the Government to sign up to the service, which it has been trialing since last year, MessageLabs CTO Mark Sunner told us.

Cable & Wireless provides the infrastructure for the GSI; and MessageLabs' SkyScan managed anti-virus service has been delivered through them.

Any loss of email access caused by a mass mailing virus could be critical for the Government, hence the decision to take on the service, which blocks virus contaminated emails before they reach a client's network.

So does the deal mean government computers have been hit by viruses like the Love Bug, Melissa and Nimda in the past?

You may well think so, we couldn't possibly comment... ®

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