Virus update times

Kevin Spicer kevin at KEVINSPICER.CO.UK
Sun Feb 29 20:14:39 GMT 2004

Theres been some discussion on the clamav list recently about the
frequency of clients pulling database updates from their servers.  the
most notable point was that several of the clam developers urged users
to schedule their cron jobs at a random minute past the hour to try and
get a better distribution of load on the servers.  I guess similar
problems also afflict users of commercial scanners.

Several things stuck me.
1) Many (most?) MailScanner users use cron.hourly to schedule updates,
therefore we, as a community, are probably responsible for a
substantially increased load at one point every hour.
2) Everyone updating at the same time increases the possibility of
individual updates failing due to bandwidth/ server issues
3) Any problems with the virus database introduced immediately before
the point we all update are likely to affect all of us before they get
4) We all have the same window of opportunity in our update cycles
during which a new virus could propagate very quickly, at least if we
all updated at different times we may stand a better chance of slowing
the rate of spread.

I therefore propose that update_virus_scanners be moved from
/etc/cron.hourly to a file in /etc/cron.d and that the minute at which
it is scheduled in that file be generated either at random or be the
same as the minute at which the file was installed.  Obviously this
would involve generating the file as part of the install process.

Kevin Spicer (kevin AT kevinspicer DOT co DOT uk)

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