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Xtra Trashes Email Viruses


All 3.5 million email messages sent every day via Xtra's mail servers will be scanned for viruses from Tuesday 23 July 2002, automatically protecting Xtra customers against known email virus attacks and slashing the number of viruses worming their way through New Zealand computers.

Xtra has invested almost $1 million in a new server-based email filtering system that will automatically protect Xtra customers against dangerous known email virus attacks. All Xtra customers who use an Xtra mailbox to send or receive email messages will be covered by the new anti-virus filter at no additional cost.

Customers can find out more about Xtra's anti-virus email protection online at

Xtra's General Manager, Rod Snodgrass, says the launch of the new anti-virus email filter will significantly curb the ability of email viruses to spread through New Zealand computers.

"Because of the large number of New Zealanders who use Xtra as their email provider, we are delivering anti-virus protection on a scale never before seen in New Zealand or Australia.

“The way we're offering our new anti-virus email filter is unique in that it automatically protects all customers at no additional cost, and unlike other anti-virus offerings, Xtra's anti-virus email filter checks both inbound and outbound messages.

"Add to that the fact that our filter will cover such a large proportion of New Zealand's email traffic, and this is a significant development in the fight against email viruses in New Zealand," he says.

Rod Snodgrass says Xtra is stepping up security for customers as email-borne viruses and worms become increasingly sophisticated.

"In the past we’ve been able to offer a good level of protection for our customers by manually blocking known email viruses during outbreaks. But as viruses get nastier with constantly changing features specifically designed to help them evade detection, manual filtering simply isn't enough," he says.

Xtra's new automatic anti-virus email filter will scan all email message attachments sent to or from Xtra mailboxes. If a virus is detected, the infected file is deleted and the cleaned-up email delivered to the intended recipient. The sender will receive a warning that an email they sent contained a virus that has been deleted.

The system is powered by software from anti-virus firm Trend Micro, and will be automatically updated with information about new viruses to provide Xtra customers with a high level of protection and peace of mind.

Trend Micro's Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Chris Poulos, said Xtra was taking a leadership role with an innovative approach to email security.

"Xtra's solution significantly enhances the Internet experience for their customers by eliminating malicious code spread via email without the need for the customer to do anything.

"The way Xtra is offering its anti-virus email filtering is certainly the first of its kind in Australasia, and from what I've seen it's unique on a global scale as well.

"As New Zealand’s largest Internet service provider, it was reassuring that our anti-virus product met Xtra's stringent requirements for scalability and performance," says Chris Poulos.

Xtra's Rod Snodgrass says the server-based approach to anti-virus protection also takes a lot of the hassle out of the equation for customers.

"With our server-based protection there's no software for customers to download or install, and no ongoing costs to keep up to date with the latest virus definitions. Our customers can relax because we've done all the work for them," he says.

Around 3.5 million email messages a day are sent over our Xtra's email system. Testing of Xtra's new anti-virus email filter shows it will catch around 100,000 virus-infected email messages daily.

The new filter will automatically protect Xtra customers from malicious code such as the SirCam virus, which can attack personal files and damage computers.

Research firm Computer Economics says SirCam caused $US 1.15 billion ($NZ 2.27 billion) worth of damage worldwide in 2001. Once inside a computer, SirCam is programmed to select a random document from its victim's files and email it to contacts in the victim’s address book. It's also designed to delete files and directories from some of the computers it infects.

"Cleaning up after a virus attack can be an expensive business. Our customers want some assurance that they're not opening themselves or their contacts up to potentially damaging viruses every time they get a new email," says Snodgrass.

Rod Snodgrass says the $1 million investment in Xtra's new anti-virus email filter is part of a raft of investment in infrastructure that runs into the "millions of dollars".

In August last year Xtra announced it was investing almost $7 million in a new email system to meet an ever-increasing demand for online communications from residential and business Internet users.

About Xtra Part of the Telecom group, Xtra Limited is New Zealand's leading provider of innovative Internet services that help people and businesses connect with each other and the world.

Xtra also delivers New Zealand’s most popular Web services to consumers and digital marketing solutions to advertisers through the XtraMSN Web site.

For more information, visit

About Trend Micro Trend Micro, Inc. is a leader in network antivirus and Internet content security software and services with its North American headquarters in Cupertino, CA and business units worldwide.

Trend Micro products are sold directly, and are also available through corporate resellers and value-added resellers.

For additional information and evaluation copies of all Trend Micro products, visit


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