Google Snaps Up Security Firm VirusTotal

The search engine leader Google shores up security credentials with the acquisition of malware detection specialist VirusTotal.

Search engine giant Google continued its efforts to bolster security credentials with the acquisition of VirusTotal, which provides a free service analyzing suspicious files and URLs and helps detect viruses, worms, Trojans and other malware. The announcement was made via a VirusTotal blog post, which expressed excitement about the deal and reiterated its dedication to keeping computers from threats.

"We're delighted that Google, a long-time partner, has acquired VirusTotal. This is great news for you, and bad news for malware generators, because: The quality and power of our malware research tools will keep improving, most likely faster; and Google's infrastructure will ensure that our tools are always ready, right when you need them," the blog post reported. "This is an exciting step forward. Google has a long track record working to keep people safe online and we look forward to fighting the good fight together with them."

The announcement also explained VirusTotal would continue to operate independently and would maintain partnerships with other antivirus companies and security experts. The platform acts as an information aggregator, which accrues the output of different antivirus engines, Website scanners, file and URL analysis tools and user contributions. The malware signatures of antivirus solutions present in VirusTotal are periodically updated as they are developed and distributed by the antivirus companies.

The company has also released a number of desktop applications and tools for interacting with the service, such as a one-click file uploader and browser extensions. According to the company's Website, there have also been a number of VirusTotal users that have developed their own applications and have made them publicly available on the Internet.

Technology publication PC Magazine received a statement from Google following an inquiry about the deal, which noted the importance of security the substantial investment Google has made toward improving it. "VirusTotal also has a strong track record in Web security, and we're delighted to be able to provide them with the infrastructure they need to ensure that their service continues to improve," the statement read.

Earlier this year, Google took the covers off Bouncer, an automated scanning service that checks new and existing apps on Android Market for malware. Bouncer scans both new and existing apps for known malware, spyware and Trojans that could steal user data or access unauthorized features. It also analyzes new developer accounts to keep out developers who have been already kicked out of the marketplace or have a history of trying to distribute questionable apps.