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RealTime IT News

Hunting Down Spyware

Targeting the specific threat of Spyware, Tenebril said it will release its SpyCatcher Enterprise on August 29.

The company said its technology is unique in going beyond traditional signature and behavior-based antivirus solutions by incorporating contextual analysis for more comprehensive spyware detection and prevention.

Other security vendors, such as Symantec, provide a suite of programs designed to protect against a range of computer infestations including spyware. "The difference with SpyCatcher is that we block more spyware before it tries to load," Fred Felman, senior vice president of marketing at San Mateo, CA-based Tenebril, told internetnews.com. "There is a convenience in buying from one vendor, but if the solution's not working large organizations with intellectual property and other security concerns are going to buy a best of breed product."

Pricing for SpyCatcher begins at $25 per seat with volume discounts available. A consumer version is due next month.

SpyCatcher Enterprise includes a Web-based management console giving IT staff remote access to central management capabilities. The software is designed to integrate seamlessly with leading user directories, such as Microsoft's Active Directory, for easier enterprise-wide deployment. A "remediation" feature restores a PC to its pre-infected state after spyware has been identified and removed.

"Malcode creators are smart and highly motivated with impressive arsenals of tools and techniques that they use to create highly-sophisticated, evasive threats that escape detection by traditional security technologies," said Irfan Salim, CEO of Tenebril, in a statement.

Salim was president and COO of software security firm Zone Labs, which was acquired by Check Point Software last year. Salim and several other executives at Tenebril worked previously at Zone Labs.

Enterprises now spend over $130,000 per month in IT time fighting spyware-related issues according to a surveyreleased by FaceTime Communications earlier this month. FaceTime sells software security for enterprise IM networks.

Among IT managers that replied to the survey, three in 10 who experienced a virus incident said IM was the root of the problem, such as employees clicking on a link from an IM not on their buddy list and launching a Web site loaded with malicious code.

Tenebril competitor Webroot, released a report in May that claimed 66 percent of PCs scanned by the company's online tool were found to be infected with an average 25 spyware entities each.

The report accounts for over one million scans performed on Webroot's site in the first quarter of this year. Results show spyware instances declining slightly from a year ago, though still an enormous presence. Webroot defines spyware as encompassing adware, cookies, system monitors and Trojans. Its software evaluates the value of cookies and adware to the user, and makes recommendations regarding those that may be malicious in intent.

A group of software vendors and technology organizations announced an initiative last month to develop a universal definition of the term spyware.

There are a bevy of terms used to describe spyware, from snoopware, keyloggers, screen scrapers to tracking cookies, but the Anti-Spyware Coalition has expanded its reach to include terms outside the strict definition of spyware to incorporate other technologies that are placed in user's PCs without their knowledge. They include adware , zombies , dialers, rootkits, tricklers and droneware.