How to automate downloading with command line utilities

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  • Updated: 06 Jul 2012

The current versions of Sophos Anti-Virus are designed to be updated automatically to ensure that they are always up to date and that you are fully protected.
The following should only be used if absolutely necessary. 

What to do

Command line downloading utilities

  • GNU Wget is a freely available network utility to retrieve files from the World Wide Web using HTTP and FTP. It works non-interactively and is the preferred tool for command line downloading.
  • URL2File is a free 32bit Windows console-mode application able to retrieve and save the content of a given World Wide Web or FTP URL to a local file. It works in some circumstances where Wget will not.

These two utilities work in a similar manner. They can be used in an equivalent way in downloading scripts.

Files that can be used in automated downloading

The file types below can be used with scripts and utilities to automate the downloading of IDE files. The most commonly used are the self-extractor and Zip files.

  • IDEs digest file

    The IDEs digest file, http://downloads.sophos.com/downloads/ide/ide_dgst.txt, is a small (4 KB) checksum file that is updated each time IDEs are released, or updated, on the website. The best way to detect an update is to check for a change to this file.

  • Self-extractor files

    The self-extractor files are .EXE files which contain all the IDE files available for a specific version of Sophos Anti-Virus. They will self-extract in Windows, MS-DOS and OS/2.

    The following self-extractor files are available:

    • The self-extractor file for each supported version of Sophos Anti-Virus has a name derived from the version number. For example, the file for version 3.71 is called 371_ides.exe.
    • The self-extractor file for the current CD version is also called ides.exe.
    • The self-extractor file for the current web version is also called web_ides.exe.

    Self-extractor files are only generated if there are any IDE files available.

  • Zip files

    The Zip files contain all the IDE files available for a specific version of Sophos Anti-Virus.

    The following Zip files are available:

    • The Zip file for each supported version of Sophos Anti-Virus has a name derived from the version number. For example, the file for version 3.71 is called 371_ides.zip.
    • The Zip file for the current CD version is also called ides.zip.
    • The Zip file for the current web version is also called web_ides.zip.

    The Zip files are only generated if there are any IDE files available.

Planning a script to poll the IDEs digest file

A script can be used to poll the IDEs digest file for updates.

Before you write the script:

Then write a script to do the following:

  1. Download http://downloads.sophos.com/downloads/ide/ides_digest.txt
  2. Compare the content of this file to the archive version.
  3. If the archive file and newly downloaded versions differ, then the IDEs have been updated:
    • Download and install the new IDE package.
    • Store the content of the newly downloaded ides_digest.txt file as the archive version.
    No action is needed if the files are identical.
  4. Wait for one hour before repeating these actions.
Make the check at a random time during the hour, rather than on the hour, so as to avoid network congestion.

Planning a script to download IDE files

The steps that need to be followed are:

  1. Check which version of Sophos Anti-Virus is being used.
  2. Download the appropriate self-extractor or Zip file.
  3. Extract the IDEs into the relevant CID directories. (Use the self-extractor, or unzip with WinZip or PKZIP).
  4. Reload Sophos Anti-Virus.

This must be used as part of a monthly updating policy which removes old IDEs from CIDs.

Example script for a single Windows computer using the self-extractor file

CD C:\SOPHIDE
DEL *.IDE
DEL IDES.EXE
WGET http://downloads.sophos.com/downloads/ide/ides.exe
IDES.EXE
COPY /Y *.IDE C:\Progra~1\Sophos~1\
NET STOP SWEEPSRV.SYS
NET START SWEEPSRV.SYS

This script

  • changes to the SOPHIDE folder
  • deletes any old IDES.EXE and IDE files
  • downloads the IDE self-extractor to a folder called SOPHIDE
  • runs the self-extractor
  • copies the IDEs to your Sophos Anti-Virus installation folder
  • stops and restarts the Sophos Anti-Virus services.

The last two lines are only necessary in Windows NT/2000/XP/2003. In Windows 95/98/Me, you should reboot to load the new IDE files.

To use this script, copy it into Notepad and save it as IDEDOWN.BAT on your desktop. Make a folder in the root of the C: drive called 'SOPHIDE' before first running the script and place Wget in it. Double-click IDEDOWN.BAT to run it.

Scripts can be made for network installations on Windows and other servers. If you require information on more complex scripts, technical support can advise you further.

 
If you need more information or guidance, then please contact technical support.

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