Sophos Anti-Virus application control extended to block Windows games

January 30, 2007 Sophos Press Release

Solitaire
Solitaire's author told Sophos that his game makes office workers unproductive.

Sophos has announced that the application control feature built into its anti-virus software has been extended to give businesses the ability to control and block Windows computer games, including Solitaire, Minesweeper and FreeCell - some of the most popular games in the world.

According to Sophos, the negative impact on company productivity caused by the games has meant that many organizations have shown significant interest in wanting to control their installation and use on company computers.

A recent Sophos poll survey of more than 450 system administrators reflected the security and efficiency concerns surrounding the use of computer games. 90.4% of respondents wanted the ability to block games, with 62% indicating this was essential.

Recognition of the drain on productivity has even been acknowledged by some of the games' creators.

"When I wrote Solitaire for Microsoft, I unleashed a monster of unproductivity onto the world," Wes Cherry, author of Microsoft Windows Solitaire told Sophos. "I bet there are millions of bosses out there who hate me. If I had a penny for every hour that has been wasted playing Solitaire in the office, I could hire Bill Gates as my golf caddie."

Sophos's application control feature has proven extremely popular with system administrators since its launch in September 2006, and receives regular updates in order to meet concerns resulting from uncontrolled enterprise use of applications. Slotting in seamlessly with Sophos Anti-Virus and requiring no roll-out of new software, 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.

"Microsoft says that 'Windows comes with a small set of games that you can play whenever you're in the mood for a bit of fun,' and this is fine - except when employees are doing it at their company's expense," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. "These games have been available on most installations of Windows for years, and I would bet more hours have been spent playing them in the office than any other game in the world."

The ability to block Windows games bolsters Sophos's previous application control update that allows system administrators to block popular commercial games from 15 major games publishers, including Eidos Interactive, SEGA and Electronic Arts.

The following games which ship with Microsoft Windows can now be blocked by Sophos's endpoint security products:

MS Windows games:
Solitaire
Hearts
Spider Solitaire
FreeCell
MineSweeper
3D Pinball

MSN Gaming Zone:
Internet Backgammon
Internet Checkers
Internet Hearts
Internet Reversi
Internet Spades

Sophos's application control capabilities integrate seamlessly into Sophos Endpoint Security providing users with a universal desktop client that addresses a diverse range of security and productivity challenges. Sophos's solution gives system administrators the power to selectively allow or block usage of applications by individuals or groups. As a result, they can implement flexible policies that reflect the diverse needs of groups across the enterprise.