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13 Dec 2006

Sophos extends application control to block computer games

Businesses able to ban popular games from corporate networks and laptops

Application Control survey results
Click here to download a high resolution graphic file.

Sophos, a world leader in IT security, will give companies the ability to control and block top-selling computer games, including The Sims 2 (EA Games), FIFA 07 (EA Sports) and Football Manager 2007 (Sega), from January next year. This will come as welcome news to system administrators who want to stop employees installing and playing computer games on company PCs and laptops, as this behavior wastes valuable IT management resources and can severely impact on overall business productivity.

A recent Sophos poll reflects the security and efficiency concerns that system administrators have when it comes to computer games. 90.4% of respondents want the ability to block games, with 62% indicating this is essential.

In addition to providing system administrators with the power to block popular games from 15 major games publishers, including Eidos Interactive, SEGA and Electronic Arts, Sophos Application Control will also be extended over time to control employees' access to games by other developers.

"PC games will be extremely popular as Christmas presents this year and some people may become so hooked that they won't think twice about installing them on their work PCs or laptops," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Many games are readily accessible and easy to hide, meaning some employees will have no qualms about playing several times a day. System administrators have voiced their opinion loud and clear: they are fed up of workers installing unauthorized programs and cyberslacking. More man hours have probably been spent playing computer games in the office than it took to build the Panama Canal!"

Sophos Anti-Virus + Application Control has proven extremely popular since its launch in September 2006 and continues to be developed further to meet security and productivity concerns resulting from uncontrolled use of applications in the enterprise. Integrating seamlessly with Sophos Anti-Virus 6.0 and requiring no roll-out of new software, Sophos Application Control gives businesses the power to selectively block games, VoIP, peer-to-peer (P2P), Instant Messaging (IM) and distributed computing applications. It is available free-of-charge to all Sophos Anti-Virus 6.0 users.

"It's not that games are a bad thing, but there is a right and a wrong time and place for them. IT departments who are responsible for supporting networks of computers increasingly want to control their users' behavior. Sophos Application Control helps system administrators define a policy for appropriate computer usage," continued Cluley.

The list of computer games that Sophos will block from January includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Age of Empires III, Ensemble Studios, Microsoft
Age of Empires III: War Chiefs, Ensemble Studios, Microsoft
Battlefield 2142, Digital Illusions, EA Games
Caesar IV, Sierra Entertainment
Championship Manager 2007, Beautiful Game Studios, Eidos
Company of Heroes, Relic, THQ
Dawn of War, THQ
FIFA 07, EA Canada EA Sports
Final Fantasy XI, Square Enix
Football Manager 2007, Sports Interactive, Sega
GTR 2, 10tacle Studios
Guild Wars: Nightfall, Arenanet, NCSoft Europe
Just Cause, Eidos Interactive
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, Traveller's Tales
Medieval II: Total War, Creative Assembly, Sega
Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Microsoft Game Studios
Need for Speed: Carbon, EA Canada, EA Games
Neverwinter Nights 2, Obsidian Entertainment, Atari
Rugby 06, Electronic Arts
Sim City 2, Electronic Arts
Sim City 4, Electronic Arts
The First Decade, Electronic Arts
The Sims 2, Maxis, EA Games
The Sims 2: Open for Business, Maxis, EA Games
The Sims 2: Pets, Maxis, EA Games
Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Dark Crusade, Relic, THQ

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.