Ford is outsourcing the management of its e-mail traffic after being severely hit by last week's Love Bug e-mail virus.
Ford, the world's second biggest car manufacturer after General Motors, is to use the MailZone e-mail firewall package from Internet messaging firm Mail.com, to screen all incoming and outgoing e-mail generated by its 170,000 corporate e-mail boxes worldwide.
Ford ran MailZone as part of an emergency procedure on the day the Love Bug struck. The car giant had been considering the system and decided to adopt it and scan every single attachment using the system after fears that the virus was rapidly mutating. Ford was concerned that it was being sent in different formats which the existing corporate system could not handle.
Mail.com spokesman Brian Hannan, speaking at the NetEvents symposium prior to last week's Networld+Interop in Las Vegas, told Computer Weekly: "On the day the bug struck they suddenly got religion and decided to hand over control of all e-mail traffic to us.
"After the Love Bug arrived, we found a solution at Ford in 20 minutes and saved their system from further damage."
The solution sees Mail.com use Sophos-based anti-virus software to block affected attachments at the firewall, and either forward them to the addressees who have "attachment rights" after scanning them, or blocking them completely if that addressee is not allocated attachment rights.
Hannan claims users wanting to download updated patches during the Love Bug attack from their anti-virus software companies Web sites, were unable to gain access to most sites because of the clamour for protection.
In addition, many staff who received the Love Bug attachment could not be stopped from opening the file and worsening the problem for their corporate network. The outsourcing of e-mail and attachment control to an application service provider like Mail.com, also ensures that updated versions of anti-virus software are actually installed.
Many employees dis-enable their anti-virus software updates on their machines, or simply do not complete the necessary re-boot of their PC after the update is supposedly loaded, meaning protection is not complete.
This slackness is often blamed on the amount of time a PC takes to start-up when equipped with multiple applications, including anti-virus software. But Mail.com says its solution delivers updated patches in four seconds, and the user has no way of dis-enabling the system.