RealTime IT News

AOL Rolls Out New Spyware Killer

AOL is rolling out new spyware-killing software to its users in an effort to combat the daily deluge of intrusive code. The service is being made available to AOL members at no additional cost.

AOL Spyware Protection 2.0 (ASP 2.0) is powered by Computer Associates eTrust PestPatrol Anti-Spyware technology and finds and blocks up to 28,000 different types of adware, spyware, Trojans and keyloggers.

Every minute, the software scans for thousands of types of spyware and adware that may be running silently, as well as every 15 minutes, daily and weekly in various memory and system sweeps aimed at keeping systems spyware- free.

"Spyware and adware threats are growing more significant as users spend more time online and visit more malicious or infected Web sites, so we want to offer our members the most comprehensive possible protection against those new and emerging threats," Andrew Weinstein, AOL spokesperson, told internetnews.com.

Weinstein noted that from AOL's point of view, CA offered the most robust spyware protection for its members. He did not comment as to whether AOL had considered solutions from other vendors for anti-spyware.

Among the myriad vendors currently offering anti-spyware solutions is Microsoft, which currently has a product in beta, which launched in January.

Weinstein declined to comment on how AOL's CA-powered solution compares to its competitors.

"We're not doing comparisons with products offered by other vendors, except to say that we believe ASP 2.0 puts AOL on the leading edge of spyware protection," he said.

"This is the first time we've deployed a CA technology to AOL members. I'm not sure if we've ever used CA technology internally on the corporate/IT side, but I would be surprised if we hadn't."

AOL is expected to update ASP 2.0 later this year with a Web-based spyware knowledge base among other enhancements.

Spyware is certainly not a small problem, either.

One recent survey went so far as to note that spyware currently costs enterprises an average over $130,000 a month to mop up.

In May, anti-spyware vendor Webroot reported that 66 percent of personal computers scanned by the company's online tool were infected with an average of 25 spyware entities each.

There is still some public debate about what spyware actually is, though the U.S. house recently passed two different anti-spyware bills.