Thursday, December 01, 2005

Gmail Adds AntiVirus Scanning

This is good news.

Well, actually it is very surprising now that I think about it. Why didn't we already have it!!! Gmail has been running in beta for over a year now. Did Google not think antivirus was a priority? I know that by labeling it a beta they can get away with whatever they want, but no antivirus is just stupid. I always assumed they had scanned my email for viruses. I am sure I am not the only one.

Up till now they just blocked sending any executable. That solved part of the problem, but that didn't block macro viruses in documents. And it was pretty annoying when you wanted to send an executable, even inside a zip file.

Update: There are some complaints about this new feature discussed in this article at Computerworld.

The first one, which at first seems unimportant is that scanning can't be turned off. The article explains why that could be a problem for some people. Of course, it is a worse problem for virus writers so I don't have a big problem with it. Do other major mail providers allow you to turn off virus scanning?

Second problem is pretty annoying, they aren't going to quit blocking executables. For the average email user that is not a problem and will help prevent spreading unknown viruses. But it is really annoying for me and many others.

The last big complaint is that Google isn't saying what antivirus technology they are using. Assuming they have not created their own scanner, people want to know what vendor they are using. I am interested in knowing too, but it doesn't make any difference. Each different implementation may have weaknesses, but how does knowing solve anything? You should already have your own antivirus scanner that you are happy with.

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