IBM i Is Immune to Viruses: FALSE
You’ve heard it so many times that it’s probably now seared into your brain. Maybe you’ve even proclaimed it yourself once or twice: “IBM i is immune to viruses.”
That may be approximately accurate, but it is only half the story. True, there have been very few documented cases of viruses that have managed to infect IBM i—the number is likely less than a rounding error compared to the number that have successfully contaminated at least one other operating system that comes to mind. Nonetheless, even if it isn’t infected, it can still be a carrier. Trailer Transit, Inc. discovered that little-known fact first-hand.
Founded in 1981, Porter, Indiana-based Trailer Transit is a leading trailer transportation company. It offers its services in the United States and Canada. The company’s 40 in-house employees and 300 trucks are responsible for about $50 million in business annually.
Trailer Transit runs its operations on a System i model 810 server that runs the company’s primary applications and its e-mail server. In addition, Intel-based IBM blade servers run two Active Directory servers, a fax server, an image server, and a file server. Employees use Windows-based PCs.
The company used to have a problem. Its System i-based e-mail server was receiving viruses. They didn’t cause any major problems for IBM i, but the viruses passed from there to the company’s Intel-based servers and employees’ PCs and then infected those machines. Clearly, this was a serious threat to the company’s operations. In one case, a virus brought down its network and in other instances viruses slowed the network considerably.
“When our network went down the situation was critical,” said Scott Trojanowski, controller for Trailer Transit.
Among other areas affected, the resulting downtime impacted the company’s crucial loading and dispatch functions. “The faster you can load a truck, the faster you can move on to the next customer,” explained Trojanowski. “And the more trucks you can dispatch, the more revenue you can generate.”
Virus Protection for IBM i, AIX, and Linux, Bar None
When searching for a solution, Trojanowski considered products from Symantec, but they weren’t geared to IBM i and, therefore, didn’t address the problem at its source. Trojanowski asked for advice from an independent consultant, Steven Losiniecki of SMPL Solutions Inc., who helps Trailer Transit with some of its system installations and maintenance. Losiniecki recommended Powertech Antivirus. In addition, he also suggested that Trailer Transit use StandGuard Network Security to provide rock-solid protection against unauthorized access to the company’s systems.
Why did Losiniecki recommend Powertech Antivirus and StandGuard Network Security? Obviously, because they work, but also because, “They’re intuitive and easy to use,” he said. “And they’re priced right, too. So many other network security vendors want to entangle you for the entire enterprise when you need only server-level protection. For a small shop like Trailer Transit, it doesn’t make sense to pay four times the amount they paid for this solution.”
Powertech Antivirus started as a virus scanning tool specifically for IBM Power Systems servers running IBM i, but can now also scan AIX, and Linux. Utilizing McAfee’s industry-leading scanning engine, Powertech Antivirus detects more than 667,000 threats as of December 2012—a number that grows weekly. The McAfee engine is supported by researchers at McAfee Labs, a global team that monitors and responds to malicious code activity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As a result, Powertech Antivirus detects more than 99% of viruses in the wild.
Scanning your IBM i server for threats and malicious code with a native antivirus solution adds an essential layer of protection that no other type of solution can provide. Because of the unique design of IBM i, without the native protection that Powertech Antivirus provides you have no way of knowing if your system is hosting, spreading, or at risk from attacks by unwanted code.
Protection from Insider and Outsider Threats
And when you need to protect your IBM i server from unauthorized activity by insiders or outsiders, StandGuard Network Security delivers an unparalleled solution. It employs an object-based design that is consistent with IBM i object security to provide an exit point security solution that locks down, monitors, and audits access to objects, network services, and resources. StandGuard Network Security supplements IBM i’s security with a layer of public and private authorities to resources, with a focus on your users and groups and their relationships to databases, applications, and objects. This phased approach and object-based design results in a highly effective, low maintenance, flexible security solution.
Trailer Transit installed a trial of Powertech Antivirus and immediately turned on inbound and outbound e-mail scanning. Then it ran a full scan of its Integrated File System (IFS). The scan found and cleaned out a few viruses. Well, to be perfectly honest, it was a bit more than a few. Actually, there were more than 300 viruses lurking there; but not anymore. Needless to say, Trailer Transit was sold on Powertech Antivirus. Now the IFS is clean and viruses are no longer a concern.
Like most organizations, Trailer Transit has a firewall protecting its systems; but a firewall is not perfect. After all, if you completely shut down all entry points into your network, the people who need access won’t be able to do their work. What’s more, if—despite your best efforts—a virus manages to make it through your antivirus safeguards, a hacker may be able to use that code to gain access to your systems. Trailer Transit eliminated these threats by using StandGuard Network Security to restrict access in a very controlled, fine-tuned manner that gave them the solid security they were looking for without hindering their day-to-day operations.
Trailer Transit needs to permit a few vendors to connect to its systems, without opening them up to the world at large. To this end, the company uses StandGuard Network Security to specify which addresses and which ports are allowed to access which directories. This enables Trailer Transit to stringently limit system access to only its employees on the local subnet and authorized vendors connecting from outside. And, should anyone attempt to break in, StandGuard Network Security’s monitoring facility allows the company to spot that activity and determine who’s been trying to gain unauthorized entry.
What benefits does Trailer Transit gain from Powertech Antivirus? Trojanowski didn’t pause for even an instant when asked that question. “No downtime and our PCs are running faster than ever,” he immediately replied. What’s more, “it’s very user-friendly and it does a great job.”