RealTime IT News

AVG Buys Sana For ID Theft Protection

Czech antivirus company Grisoft, better known as AVG, has bought identity theft prevention software vendor Sana Security.

The purchase adds behavior-based protection to its capabilities and will better protect users as they surf the Web, J.R. Smith, CEO of AVG, told InternetNews.com.

Details of the purchase were not disclosed.

The purchase comes as the recession tightens IT budgets and enterprises look for ways to consolidate their security investments.

AVG needed to make the purchase to keep up with market trends, noted Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald. "All the major vendors - Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC), McAfee (NYSE: MFE), Trend Micro, Sophos, IBM (NYSE: IBM) - are moving toward an endpoint protection platform that delivers more than antivirus," he told InternetNews.com.

This is because the traditional signature-based detection mechanisms that antivirus applications use are now inadequate, MacDonald said. "There's an exponential curve in the growth of malware variants, with people building automated kits to create malware, and the antivirus labs just can't keep up," he explained.

Also, the creators of viruses and worms are making them polymorphic, which means they change their signatures frequently, making detection difficult. For example, the Koobface virus, which hit Facebook in December for the second time in three months, was difficult to eradicate because it was a server side polymorphic virus which automatically changed its signature every five minutes or so.

"Second, there's an increase in targeted attacks where hackers create custom malware where no signature exists to go after your company, and these aren't recognized by antivirus software, which recognizes attacks by their signature."

These factors play into fears that identity theft will increase as laid-off employees strike back, and cybercriminals ure+Adds+to+Security+step up their attacks to take advantage of governments' preoccupation with the recession.

Insider breaches, either on their own or in combination with external attacks, accounted for more than half of data breaches at enterprises, said a survey sponsored by database security solutions vendor Application Security.

Antivirus vendors are moving towards consolidated offerings because users would rather have one vendor offering one platform with several products they can choose among to round off their computer security than be made to buy products from different vendors, MacDonald explained.

For example, McAfee broadened its business strategies by buying Reconnex last year for $46 million in a bid to simplify and automate data protection.

Sana's technology understands what a PC's components and software are doing and how they should behave, and, if they deviate from the norm, it terminates that activity, AVG's Smith said.

"This lets us detect new and unknown threats we haven't seen before in real time," he said.