Agnitum Directions (April, 2007)
- Outpost Security Suite Pro Revealed
- Vista migration survey
- Special Offer
- Interview with a hacker
A month has passed since we announced the release of Spam Terrier and the public beta for Outpost Security Suite Pro. Now that April Fool’s Day and the Easter holiday weekend are over and we look forward to May Day, we take a look at what people are saying about our new products. Additionally, we reveal the results of our Vista migration intentions survey among Outpost users. Finally, we have something of interest to those of you who are curious about the dark side of computer security - over the past couple of months, we’ve been talking to some real-life hackers (under condition of anonymity). The result is an interview with a ‘composite hacker’ we call Victor, whose views represent a consensus of what we learned talking to these ‘black-hats’.
As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. Please use our web mail form to let us know what you think.
Outpost Security Suite Pro Revealed
The Outpost Security Suite public beta program was launched on March 20th, 2007 and our beta-testers and development team members have been working hard ever since to incorporate suggested improvements into the product. Here are some of the more common questions that have come up so far, along with our answers (a kind of beta FAQ):
Q.: After installing Outpost Security Suite, I detected a number of hidden files on my hard disk.
A.: Don’t worry, we’re not planting rootkits on your PC! During the initial scan, Outpost Security Suite creates two auxiliary index files (OP_CACHE.ATR and OP_CACHE.IDX) which are hidden in every folder. The program uses these files to cache antivirus and spyware scan statuses for all the files and folders in that directory. This approach increases overall scanning speed dramatically, as unchanged files don’t need to be scanned again. If a file changes, or the malware signature database is updated, the cache is reset and the files will be rescanned next time.
These files can be read, but are not visible in the common folder listing. Some programs - anti-rootkit tools, for example - can view these files and sometimes detect them as malicious, as rootkits use the same technique to hide data. However, these hidden Outpost files are quite harmless. The hidden cache approach is a mandatory setting in the beta versions of the product, but will be optional in the final shipping product. Note, however, that scan times will increase if the cache is turned off
Q.: Does Agnitum plan to support anti-spam for mail clients other than Outlook?
A.: As of now, Spam Terrier and the anti-spam module in Outpost Security Suite Pro are compatible with Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 and Microsoft Outlook Express 5.0, 5.5, and 6.0 and support POP3, SSL POP3, IMAP, and HTTP protocols. We’ll add support for other clients and protocols as and when a sufficient number of users request it.
Q.: How can I tell if downloadable items are being scanned for viruses in real-time?
A.:In the beta version of Outpost Security Suite Pro, files are scanned “on execution” (when the execution procedure is started). The final release will add a second option: “on access attempt” scanning. The “execution” approach is generally a little faster, but it’s not noticeable during normal PC operation. You may also run an on-demand scanner if you wish. Performance is nearly the same in both cases.
Q.: How do I tell Agnitum about bugs I find in the Outpost Security Suite Pro beta?
A.: We encourage you to report any bugs or other comments at http://www.agnitum.com/support/forms/submitabug.php.
These are just a few of the early feedback comments and questions we’ve received. Keep them coming! Continuous feedback from you will help us create a more effective product more quickly, so we’re happy to reply to any of your concerns about Outpost Security Suite, its functions, goals and operation.
Vista migration survey
Last month, we conducted another Vista migration poll (we held our first in September last year) among Outpost users. The number of votes we received compared to the previous survey was almost double, so this certainly seems to be a topic you care passionately about. We’d like to thank all of you who responded for your enthusiasm and below we share the results with you.
The outcome of the survey was quite surprising to us. It turned out that migrating to the new operating system is more a question of whether, than when. Here are the figures:
When do you plan to switch to Windows Vista?
| I have no plans to change to Vista||31,03%|
| Within 6 months of release||16,16%|
| As soon as it’s available||15,52%|
| After release of Vista Service Pack 1 with major bug fixes||13,58%|
| More than 12 months after release||12,07%|
| Within 12 months of release||11,64%|
| I have no plans to change to Vista||69,25%|
| In a year||10,88%|
| In a month||10,18%|
| In 6 months||4,90%|
| In 3 months||4,79%|
Judge for yourself what you think the trend is. For more of our reflections on the subject of Vista migration, click here.
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Registry Booster Key Benefits:
- An enhanced and greatly tuned scanning engine. It is now able to scan the registry more aggressively and therefore find and fix more errors.
- More scanning options. Due to the improvements made to the scanning engine we are now able to scan for more sections within the registry.
- An Ignore list. This is quite an innovative feature and very useful too for those users who are extra cautious with their registry. By specifying the Registry section and path, the user will be able to exclude registry parts from the scan.
- Log generation. A transcript of all the actions performed on the registry by a particular fix operation. Especially helpful for those users wanting to know what’s been done to their registry.
- VISTA Compatible
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Interview with a hacker
Many of you have heard about the phenomenon of Russian hackers and their “accomplishments”. Agnitum, as a Russian information security vendor, decided to get closer to the “enemy” and to try and get some insider information. After talking to a number of individual “black hats”, we constructed this interview with a composite hacker we call Victor, whose views represent those of the Russian hacker community in general, rather than any specific individual.
Click here to read Victor’s story.