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Anti-Virus Software Can Cause Problems

With all the viruses going around these days, it's no wonder people are installing anti-virus programs on their web servers, but some of the steps they take in the name of security aren't all that good for IIS or your ASP scripts.

I obviously can't cover everything that an anti-virus program might do that could adversely affect your web site, but here are a few examples that I've run across lately.

The first comes from one of our visitors:

hi,

I saw already many ppl having problem with FSO hanging on them, more exactly FSO code making the whole IIS hang, situation which only IIS Restart can solve.

The one and only reason for that, followed by simple solution, is Norton AntiVirus software installed on the Server machine. Norton has this ability called "Script Blocking", and when activated, this ability blocks malicious code processed from within the Server. Unfortunetally, Norton consider FSO to be malicious code as well, thus blocking it. Since FSO is integral part of IIS, the whole IIS is blocked, actually stops functioning.

The easy solution is to disable "Script Blocking" option... it's somewhere in the Norton configuration.

I already solved about five cases like this, I'm sure there are more that suffer from this problem.

Regards and thanks for your time,
Yahav Braverman

The next issue is one I've run into personally. We also use Norton AntiVirus, but we're running the Corporate Edition. It includes what they call "File System Realtime Protection." It basically sits there and watches every file that get's accessed and scans it for virus infection. This is a great feature for a desktop machine, but for a server under heavy load it can create an additional slowdown on drive access which is obviously not desirable. If you want to keep it installed and running, a better option is to run a full scan on the server to make sure it's not infected and then reconfigure Norton to only scan files as they are created or modified. (This can be found on the Advanced tab of the File System Realtime Protection configuration screen.) It may still cause some slow down during writes, but this should impact a web server to a much lesser degree.

Note: I feel it is important to note that we are in no way picking on Symantec's product line. It just so happens that a lot of people (including us) use their products because of their quality. As a result of our familiarity with them, the above issues were the easiest examples of this type of problem that I was able to find. I'm sure that most other Anti-Virus programs can (and do) cause similar problems. If you have any specific examples please let me know so I can post their symptoms and possible resolutions here.


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