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Microsoft, Network Associates, Trend Micro Launch Alliance

Microsoft is stepping up to the plate a little more on virus response this week with the creation of the Virus Information Alliance, a partnership with Network Associates and Trend Micro.

The day that the program was announced, Tuesday, the alliance also posted its first alert -- about the Palyh mass-mailing worm that looks like it is coming from support@microsoft.com.

The Virus Information Alliance (VIA) is "designed to help Microsoft customers obtain timely and relevant information about the latest virus threats affecting Microsoft technology," Microsoft said in a statement. The company lumps the new program into its Trustworthy Computing initiative.

Microsoft's efforts to warn users about virus and worm threats in the past have been somewhat sporadic and scattered. Now, Microsoft is centralizing its virus warnings and alerts at a TechNet Web page: www.microsoft.com/technet/security/virus/default.asp.

By propping up the effort behind the anti-virus research labs of Network Associates and Trend Micro, Microsoft continues its policy of leaving the day-to-day work of cataloging, dissembling and warning users about viruses to the security vendors.

The effort is similar to the TechNet Security Web page that centralizes hotfixes and security bulletins. Microsoft officials say that over time the anti-virus service will offer white papers and other online resources to help users defend against viruses and worms.

VIA's first warning involving the Palyh mass mailing worm provides a broad technical description, a severity ranking (moderate) and links to Network Associates and Trend Micro Web pages for more information.

The links to the anti-virus vendors' sites are the main factors distinguishing the Palyh warning from 19 other virus alerts issued since November of 2001 by the Microsoft Product Support Services Security Response Team. Those other alerts are also archived on the new TechNet VIA site.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.