Symantec Enhances Spyware Capture and Removal

Symantec is adding real-time monitoring and protection from spyware and adware-and enhancing spyware-removal capabilities-within the company's existing anti-virus management consoles.

Symantec this week officially joined the parade of security vendors taking on spyware in the enterprise, adding real-time monitoring and protection from spyware and adware and enhancing the companys spyware removal capabilities.

Both Symantec Client Security 3.0 and Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10.0, available in March, will automatically detect and remove the malicious programs and provide repair tools for damage done by those programs.

As opposed to McAfee Inc.s anti-spyware solution, which was announced yesterday and is offered as an add-on to existing products, Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec Corp. will integrate the spyware capabilities directly into the companys next enterprise AV (anti-virus) products.

"Our enterprise customers arent looking for an additional product to deploy to their desktops," said Brian Foster, director of product management for client and host security with Symantec. "They feel we should add an integrated product for all malicious programs and problems, including spyware."

Jim Slaby, a senior analyst with Boston-based The Yankee Group, said enterprises are beginning to push back on anti-virus pricing, and vendors are coming up with ways to justify these expenses.

"People arent feeling the pain of viruses like they did in the past and this is a way to add spyware (protection) for some incremental cost or as part of their existing AV products," said Slaby. "This makes it much easier for their customers to stay with them."

Previous versions of Symantecs AntiVirus Corporate Edition and Client Security did include "spyware protection at some level," and Symantec hopes to handle the expanding threats for its customers with these additions.

Symantec said customers will be able to manage the spyware protection capabilities from within the companys existing anti-virus management consoles, without additional resources or learning.

"Putting security agents on desktops in a large organization is not thought of lightly," said Peter Firstbrook, program director for META Group Inc. "If you can roll it out as an update to something you already have, its a lot easier. Symantec and McAfee have a huge advantage (in the space)."

"Over the last 12 months, spyware has jumped to the forefront in our customers minds," said Foster. "They are looking for spyware and adware protection from their anti-virus vendor."

Symantecs customers arent the only ones noticing the threats posed by spyware.

Today, Webroot Software Inc., an anti-spyware vendor, announced the results of its latest corporate SpyAudit, which scans nearly 28,000 machines in more than 11,300 companies. Boulder, Colo.-based Webroot said desktops contained an average of 17.8 pieces of spyware or "potentially unwanted software" and 14.46 system monitors per every 100 machines scanned.


Click to read the eWEEK Labs review: Webroot Spy Sweeper Enterprise 2.0.

META Group of Stamford, Conn. has also found that IT help desks spend as much as 20 percent of their time scrubbing infected desktops of spyware and that time is increasing rapidly.

Spyware is a major focus for many security vendors early this year, but Symantec is also adding other security functionality to its products next month. Client Security 3.0 now includes a firewall component, which examines traffic coming into and leaving individual machines to prevent system monitors and keyloggers from communicating outside the network.

Symantec has also added "generic exploit blocking" to the product, which scans traffic for code that could take advantage of known vulnerabilities. For example, when Microsoft releases its patches and vulnerabilities each month, Symantec develops a signature for the vulnerabilities rather than specific signatures for exploits that are sure to appear. META Groups Firstbrook noted that Symantec is the first to bring such signatures directly to the desktop client.


Click to read the article: Microsoft Anti-Spyware Beta Takes Familiar Shape.

"Were looking for some unknown exploit thats trying to take advantage of some known vulnerability," said Symantecs Foster. "Now we can build signatures around the vulnerabilities, and protect against exploits that will be built in the future."

In March, Symantec Client Security 3.0 will be available for $33.90 per node for 1,000 seats while AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10.0 will cost $31.80 per node for 1,000 seats.