Security software company Symantec Corp. said Tuesday that it had signed a definitive agreement to buy IMLogic, a maker of security software for instant messaging applications, based in Waltham, Mass.
The acquisition for an undisclosed sum will add IMLogics IM Manager technology to Symantecs growing stable of messaging security products, and give the Cupertino, Calif., company a ready-made solution for the growing number of IM-based worms and viruses, said Carlin Wiegner, senior director of product delivery for messaging Web security at Symantec.
IMLogics IM Manager is a server-based IM management tool that works with leading IM platforms like America Online Inc.s AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), Microsoft Corp.s MSN Messenger and Yahoo Inc.s Yahoo Messenger.
IM Manager provides a variety of security and reporting features, including threat protection, virus scanning, anti-spam, policy enforcement and file transfer controls.
IMLogic also has patent-pending technology for real-time threat protection for IM threats that the company claims can stop IM network threats and anomalies without using so-called “signatures” based on known attacks.
Symantec will brand and sell the IM Manager product just as it did the anti-spam technology it acquired along with Brightmail Corp. in May 2004, Wiegner said.
The company will integrate IMLinkage, an IM security tool kit, into the Symantec Mail Security 8000 series appliances. The company will also continue to sell IMLinkage under OEM agreements with security appliance and service provider customers, such as messaging security vendor Postini Inc., he said.
The product will also allow Symantec to more tightly integrate IMLogics IM archiving and auditing features with products like the Veritas Enterprise Vault archival storage technology, he said.
IM use within corporations has been growing, as have threats that spread over IM networks.
In December, security companies warned about a new version of the Virkel worm that spread over MSN Messenger networks by exploiting an MSN Messenger users contact lists and mailing links that claimed to offer a leaked beta release of the MSN Messenger 8 IM client.
New IM worms like Virkel and its cousin, Kelvir, are cropping up more frequently. These worms often download Trojan horse and remote control “botnet” programs onto machines they infect, in addition to attempting to spread over IM networks, according to Mikko Hyppönen, manager of anti-virus research at F-Secure Corp. of Helsinki, Finland.
Despite that, many enterprise IT managers are still unaware of the threat posed by IM programs, which are often not sanctioned by a companys IT department, but are used by employees anyway, said Chris Christiansen of IDC Corp.
“Corporations dont want to see it, or dont want to recognize that [IM] is a largely uncontrolled conduit in and out of their company,” he said.
But that attitude is changing, Christiansen said, due to tough new data security and privacy regulations.
“Companies are finally starting to take a look at IM and the potential it has for security lapses,” he said.
Enterprise IT departments that dont allow IM use will be interested in IMLogics technology, designed to help enforce security policies that forbid IM use. Companies that do use IM can use the technology to centralize control over IM and provide auditing and reporting controls that new regulations demand, Christiansen said.