Sophos and WildList Organization join forces to protect users against rapidly spreading new viruses

April 27, 2000 Sophos Press Release

REVS Information

About The WildList Organization International

Sophos Anti-Virus, Europe's leading developer of corporate anti-virus solutions, and The WildList Organization International, the world's premier source of virus information, have today launched REVS (Rapid Exchange of Virus Samples), a ground-breaking new system which will enable members of the entire anti-virus industry to quickly and securely exchange 'urgent' virus samples such as Melissa. This service enables all anti-virus developers worldwide to pool their resources and expertise in the fight to protect end-users from the threat of rapidly spreading viruses.

The backbone of REVS is a server housed in a secure server room at Sophos headquarters, which encrypts and forwards a secure copy of 'urgent' viruses to all participating anti-virus developers. REVS will assist anti-virus software vendors in the fight against computer viruses by ensuring they receive new virus samples within minutes of a rapidly spreading virus being discovered.

"This technology is what the anti-virus industry has been praying for ever since Melissa happened," said Dr Jan Hruska, technical director for Sophos Anti-Virus. "With rapidly spreading viruses, it is essential that the anti-virus researchers get samples as soon as possible. REVS will be a major benefit to all computer users."

"We are providing this service in the belief that it will ultimately benefit end users," said Ian Whalley, Board Member for The WildList Organization International. "Anti-virus vendors will be able to receive urgent virus samples rapidly and then provide information and detection for these viruses to their customers within a shorter space of time than they ever could before."

The REVS mailing list is controlled by custom-built software, written by The WildList Organization, which manages the encryption and exchange of urgent virus samples. When a participant deems that a virus is 'urgent', a sample is encrypted, signed with the anti-virus vendor's key and then sent to the REVS server. The system then resends the sample to the list participants, encrypting it correctly for each individual recipient.

Any company that produces an anti-virus product can participate in the REVS messaging service free of charge. The WildList Organization's mission is to provide accurate, timely and comprehensive information about "In the Wild" computer viruses to both users and product developers. The WildList, a list of computer viruses found in the wild and reported by a diverse group of over 55 qualified volunteers, is made available free of charge by the organization. For more information about The WildList Organization, visit http://www.wildlist.org.