Zone Labs to Acquire IMsecure

Zone Labs will integrate the IMsecure Desktop product into its Integrity enterprise firewall offering.

Zone Labs Inc. on Tuesday plans to announce that it has acquired IMsecure Corp., a small developer of security software for instant messaging applications. At the same time, Zone Labs will announce that it is integrating the IMsecure Desktop product into its Integrity enterprise firewall offering.

Zone Labs will also be offering a stand-alone version of the IM product, called IMsecure Pro, for consumers.

Company officials said the acquisition and new product offerings are designed to give Zone the ability to protect users while theyre engaged in the three most popular activities on the Internet: Web browsing, e-mailing and instant messaging. As IM has become more and more popular in the enterprise, IT departments have struggled to find a way to protect corporate networks from careless users.

"The use of IM is pretty extensive, and the security savviness of these users is pretty low," said Fred Felman, vice president of marketing at Zone Labs, based in San Francisco. "You combine that with the security risks inherent in using IM and you have a problem."

IM is considered a major security risk for several reasons. For starters, it punches a hole in the corporate firewall, meaning that all of the traffic is unmonitored and unfiltered. Also, IM can be used to transfer files, opening the door for users to unleash viruses and other plagues on the network by accepting malicious files.

IMsecure encrypts all IM traffic to protect against eavesdropping and includes a feature that prevents buffer overrun attacks via IM. The product also has a feature called ID Lock, which looks for personally identifiable information being sent over IM and blocks it. And IM Lock allows users to instantly halt all IM traffic on their machine.

The enterprise version of the product isnt due until the end of this year. But the consumer version, IMsecure Pro 1.0, will be available Tuesday for $19.95. Users can also download a free, limited version.