[unisog] Request Opinions on Anti-Virus Software

Alan Rothenbush alan at sfu.ca
Mon Jun 6 21:57:59 GMT 2005

On Monday 06 June 2005 13:41, Russell Fulton wrote:
> On Mon, 2005-06-06 at 10:33 -0400, mark ferguson wrote:
> > o There is a huge anticipated Help Desk/support cost in converting our
> >   end-users to another product.

I am right this minute going through the process of converting some 400 or so 
Windows machines in the administrative departments I'm responsible for (which 
includes a WHOLE lot of people who can fire me) from Symantec to McAfee.

All of these machines are on Active Directory.  (To date, I've been able to 
take a _very_ hard line on the subject of support; you do it my way, which 
includes AD, or you manage it yourself and don't even think of calling with a 

I was only loosely involved with decision of which AV product to purchase, a 
seemingly strange decision, as I'm sort of the chief technical person around 
here for such things.

Frankly, I didn't believe there to be all that much difference between the 
major vendors; none were perfect, all were going to let something slip 

I felt my time was better spent planning for the inevitable outbreak, and 
educating the users, such "education" also known as bullying, frightening and 
outright threatening.

However, no boss anywhere is going to buy the story that AV really isn't 
required, and when the microcomputer store manager (the main purchaser of 
volume software) came to me with the idea that he was going to licence McAfee 
(as the price was enormously cheaper than our previous Symantec deal), I did 
a bit of an investigation.

I too was worried about the problems of changing something that so embeds 
itself into the core of the OS, on so many machines.

I found that McAfee offered a number of other "malware" protection tools over 
and above the standard AV fare, one of which would have helped a poor user 
just last week.

And more importantly, I also found that McAfee will happily uninstall 
Norton/Symantec AV as part of its install process, and that the whole install 
can be configured to take place entirely unattended.

All of the machines in my area of AD have a CRON job running such that they 
all reboot between 1:00 and 3:00 AM.  Starting tonight, I will begin adding 
the line


to the startup script of these machines.  (OK, it's a more complex script than 
that, but it could be just that simple.)

I'm hoping that my initial fears about the size of the changeover problem may 
have been unfounded; tomorrow, or perhaps Wednesday, we'll know.


Alan Rothenbush             
Academic Computing Services  
Simon Fraser University     
Burnaby, B.C., Canada                          

               Before me things create were none, save things
               Eternal, and eternal I endure.
               All hope abandon ye who enter here.

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