The intrusion prevention and security firm rolled out an updated McAfee Anti-Spyware Enterprise, an application created for medium to large businesses, that scans systems to identify and eliminate potentially unwanted programs like keyloggers and remote-control software.
The product stands out among competing products, the company claims, because it scans proactively, unlike many other programs that require user interaction to start scanning.
For smaller companies, McAfee launched a subscription-based service, the Managed VirusScan plus Anti-Spyware, that provides continual, automatic virus and spyware protection.
The service uses the same scanning technology found in the enterprise edition, but is available at a more affordable price for small businesses, McAfee said. It has a single installation, and gives IT administrators access to Web-based management tools and reports.
The creation of the new products was done in response to what McAfee sees as a scourge for corporate users, the company said.
"During the past several years, we have seen the problem of spyware rise from the level of nuisance to major security concern for our small to large business customers," Steve Crutchfield, McAfees director of product marketing, said in a release.
The addition of Anti-Spyware Enterprise and Managed VirusScan inserts a layer of much-needed protection, he said. "Both of the solutions are designed for easy installation and deployment, and set a best-practices security policy for companies of any size."
McAfees newest contribution to the anti-spyware market is yet another indication of the growing trend for anti-virus vendors to focus more on spyware, said Gartner analyst John Pescatore.
"All the big anti-virus companies tried to ignore spyware, giving rise to a bunch of little companies that focused on the problem," he said. "Then most of them got gobbled up by the big anti-virus vendors, so were seeing the fruits of those acquisitions now, making for a crowded marketplace."
In addition to illustrating why the anti-spyware market is getting so robust, McAfees product rollout also demonstrates that companies have finally begun to take spyware seriously, Pescatore said.
"The threat has changed," he said. "The first wave of spyware was pop-up ads that led users to bad sites. But now with keyloggers and remote control software, its gone from annoying to dangerous."
McAfee should have good success in the market, Pescatore said, because more companies are realizing that their anti-spyware control needs to be as multi-layered as anti-virus protection.
"You could live with anti-virus if youre really careful about e-mail," he said. "But you cant work without anti-spyware."
In addition to its new product and service, McAfee announced Tuesday the start of the McAfee Stop Spyware Week, a global initiative designed to raise awareness of the threats posed by spyware.
A recent study by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 53 percent of survey respondents said they had spyware on their computers, but actually 80 percent were infected.
As part of the initiative, McAfee is letting consumers use its Anti-Spyware 2006 for a 30-day free trial. The companys site will also offer information about spyware and tips for avoiding infection.