RealTime IT News

Thanks, Russia: Antivirus Software Market Remains Healthy

Consolidation is inevitable in virtually every industry, but the antivirus software market seems to defy that law of economics. The dozens of competitors are sticking around, thanks to the endless supply of malicious code coming from Russia and China.

Symantec and McAfee are the two best-known players, but Trend Micro is doing better than McAfee, according to the latest figures from NPD Group. McAfee has fallen from second place, with 14 percent of the market, to fourth place with 7 percent.

Trend, which has become a darling of Best Buy's influential Geek Squad, has soared from 2 percent of the market two years ago to 14 percent today. Webroot's Spy Sweeper, also a Geek Squad favorite, has 12 percent of the market for the No. 3 spot on NPD's malware sales chart.

Trailing behind that crowd is CA. Yes, the maker of Unicenter. In 1999, the company acquired the VET Antivirus program, which it made a part of Unicenter for enterprise security. A few years later, CA bought Cheyenne Software, which also had an antivirus product.

So the company formerly known for mainframe software became known in the antivirus marketplace, and is now more widely used than many consumers realize. Time Warner includes CA's protection in its Roadrunner cable Internet service and Yahoo uses it in its browser toolbar, according to David Luft, senior vice president of development at CA.

Trend and CA are persevering in the crowded malware market with a suite approach. Simply stopping viruses isn't enough. Now you need a firewall, spyware protection and child-protection filters.

"The market for security in the consumer space has gone to the suite notion," said Luft. "People want all of those things lumped into one product."

CA's new Internet Security Suite Plus 2008 offers antivirus, anti-spyware and anti-phishing via a browser toolbar, as well as a firewall it acquired from Tiny Software in 2005. It also includes data backup and transfer and parental controls.

CA is also putting its money behind its product. The company is offering up to $10,000 in coverage for virus protection and identity theft.

Trend Micro, meanwhile, has updated Trend Micro AntiVirus plus AntiSpyware for this year and introduced a new one. Trend Micro Internet Security 2008. The focus of these products is performance and speed. This new version scans 30 percent faster than the last release and has a 50 percent smaller footprint, according to Carol Wang Carpenter, vice president of global marketing for the company.

With this version, Trend is putting more emphasis on behavioral monitoring rather than signature-based protection. "Signature monitoring was always an after-the-fact method of catching infection," said Carpenter. "Behavioral monitoring tries to catch an infection before it's known to antivirus vendors."

As such, the Internet Suite runs behavior-based proactive intrusion blocking that monitors activity within the computer for suspicious behavior, such as file access and modification.

Rob Enderle, principle analyst with The Enderle Group, said he's seen Trend emerge into a significant player in recent years. "What makes Trend interesting is they weren't even a player in this segment a few years back," he told InternetNews.com. "They've been moving against the opportunity McAfee has created while they were focused on … other things, shall we say," he added, alluding to last year's double-whammy stock-option backdating scandal and resulting departure of CEO George Samenuk.

CA, on the other hand, is still a bit player. "I'm not hearing anything on that product. If someone told me they pulled it out of the market I would be unsurprised," Enderle said.

Trend Micro Internet Security Pro is available now for a three-PC annual license of $69.95. Trend Micro Internet Security 2008 also offers protection for three PCs and costs $49.95. CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008 is $69.99 and also provides a three-user license.