OfficePower and Viruses
We've received a number of questions regarding the impact of viruses on an OfficePower system.
It's important to understand that the OfficePower server is not susceptible to damage from viruses in the same way that a PC is. OfficePower documents and record objects cannot include macros or executable code, and hence cannot be attacked in the same way that the current generation of "macro viruses" attack PC-based word processors and spreadsheets. So there is no danger that opening an OfficePower-Word document or Datafile will unleash a virus.
As for "executable" viruses, these are normally PC-specific and cannot be "executed" in any meaningful sense on the OfficePower server. So files containing such viruses stored in the OfficePower filestore will not endanger the server - the risk comes when they are transferred to a PC. (In the case of the theoretical possibility of a UNIX-specific executable virus, OfficePower and OfficePower for Windows will normally be configured so that end-users cannot create or execute UNIX files within their filestore.)
Documents containing a (PC-specific) virus, stored on an OfficePower server, and converted to OfficePower-Word format using PowerConverters will have all the embedded macros, including the virus, discarded during conversion. Even if subsequently reconverted to, say, Word for Windows format, the resulting document will be "clean".
The only real risk, therefore, is of files containing PC-specific viruses which are delivered to a PC as an attachment to an OfficePower mail message, or stored on an OfficePower server and then "fetched" to the PC. Executable files, word processing documents with embedded macros, and spreadsheets with embedded macros present the same risk to the PC as a file transferred to that PC by diskette, CD-ROM, or file transfer over a network. Assuming that you have protected your PC against attack by these latter routes, it will also be protected against attack by files "delivered" to it by OfficePower.
The current rash of "script" viruses (such as "Love Bug"), however, will generally be rendered ineffectual by OfficePower as the attachment is extracted to the PC. Such attachments are recognised by OfficePower as "text" files, or not recognised at all. On extraction, they will be given a "harmless" filename extension, such as .TXT, instead of the intended .VBS, .SHS, or other extension - "opening" these attachments will therefore NOT run the virus. Only if a user deliberately extracted a file to the PC, renamed it with a "harmful" extension, and then explicitly "ran" the file would the virus become dangerous. Even then, the danger would normally be limited to a single PC. The method by which such viruses replicate themselves by email is specific to Microsoft Outlook or similar mail clients - these viruses would not replicate using OfficePower Mail via the "Green Screen", OfficePower for Windows, or OfficePower Web interfaces.
Teamware Group, of course, STRONGLY recommends that all PCs, connected to an OfficePower system or otherwise, have suitable anti-virus software installed on them, activated, and updated regularly!
Sites that use the OfficePower Internet Gateway to connect their OfficePower mail system to external mail networks may, optionally, wish to "trap" viruses in incoming mail messages before they reach the OfficePower server. Any of the commercially available "SMTP anti-virus" products will be suitable - in this case, there is no specific requirement of the anti-virus product from the fact that you are using OfficePower, as OfficePower is just another SMTP mail server when viewed externally. However, note that these products are normally Windows-based, so will run on your firewall/proxy, or on a specific PC-architecture server, rather than on an OfficePower server or other UNIX system. Even if you adopt this approach, you are also advised to install anti-virus software on your PCs to protect against viruses introduced into your OfficePower network by other routes, including diskette.
Return to the top of this page.