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Symantec Lands Anti-Phish Firm

Security software giant Symantec is expanding its line of products with the acquisition of behavior-based security and anti-phishing firm WholeSecurity.

The Austin, Texas-based WholeSecurity offers software that analyzes viruses, worms and other malicious code and supplies real-time protection against threats without the need for traditional security signatures.

"WholeSecurity provides industry leading protection from phishing attacks, one of the fastest growing threats to online transactions, such as banking, e-commerce, and auctions," Enrique Salem, senior vice president, Symantec Security Products and Solutions, said in a statement.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Symantec said the transaction is expected to close in October.

Behavior-based security technology is a hot trend in the computer security industry, and Symantec's entrance into the field likely signals it is a trend that will continue to increase.

WholeSecurity's behavior based suite, dubbed Confidence Online, identifies collective threats such as Trojan horses, keystroke loggers and phishing sites by monitoring and analyzing their actions and characteristics, Symantec said. It can then determine whether threats are active processes or web sites are safe or malicious.

This technology can also detect and mitigate unknown threats by their behavior without traditional signatures or patches thereby protecting users against zero-day attacks, Symantec said.

"In addition, WholeSecurity's family of solutions provides critical behavior-based security technology that we expect to be a core component of Symantec's baseline consumer security and enterprise desktop solutions," Salem said.

Symantec was not immediately available to comment. WholeSecurity's behavior-based technology can addresses applications ranging from browser-based phishing detection and notification to on-demand delivery of malicious code detection.

"We have been the first line of defense for our customers, protecting them against new forms of malicious threats before signatures can be created," J. Peter Selda, president and chief executive officer, WholeSecurity, said in a statement. "Combining our behavior-based technology with Symantec's industry leading solutions will allow us to deliver this capability to a much broader audience and move us further toward our vision of providing zero-hour protection for every endpoint."

Confidence Online for Corporate PCs provides "always on" protection for corporate IT managed computers, Symantec said. While Confidence Online for E-Commerce protects consumer e-commerce by delivering on-demand security that stops eavesdropping threats from running on a consumer's computer.

And Confidence Online Phish Finder provides real-time, browser-based protection from fraudulent websites.