AVG Acquires Sana Security, Adds ID Protection

Antivirus and Internet security company AVG Technologies will make a bigger push into identity theft protection after announcing the acquisition of behavior-based software company Sana Security on Tuesday.

Executives at Amsterdam-based AVG said that the acquisition added a welcome component to the company's Internet security portfolio with real-time behavioral threat detection and identity theft offerings. The acquisition of Redwood City, Calif.-based Sana also provides AVG customers with automatic proactive malicious software removal technology.

"The type of protection you need the most is starting to revolve around speed," said J.R. Smith, AVG CEO. "When you see (malware) on your desktop, there's a reason it's there; it's stealing your identity, and turning that data into profit. Very quickly, we'll identify it right then and there."

Specifically, Sana's products use advanced behavioral technology aimed at protecting users' personal information, such as logins, passwords and financial information, as well as other critical data stored on the computer.

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Sana's software essentially mimics the approach used by the human immune system, "learning" normal application behavior by observing the way those applications interact with each other. When vulnerabilities such as software bugs, malware attacks and other flaws force applications down unexpected code paths, the behavioral technology recognizes the anomaly and eliminates the threat before they can compromise the user's personal information.

Sana's real-time threat detection technology gives AVG partners another tool to add to their kit that combats sophisticated security threats such as botnets, rootkits, spyware and Trojan horses. And executives say that the technology provides a strong value add to existing offerings.

Plus, the fact that the product offers real-time capabilities and no updates resonates particularly well with the company's consumer and SMB markets, which are often more vulnerable to security threats than enterprises due to their lack of IT staff and resources, Smith said.

"The small businesses are vastly underprotected," said Smith. "For the small businesses who aren't in business to drive security revenue, security is kind of an afterthought."

Smith said that Sana's technologies will appear in two of its security suites -- its AV suite, and its full Internet suite -- by the end of the second quarter this year. Executives are also evaluating whether to market the technology as a standalone product.

"While the economy is declining, the need for security has stayed the same," said Smith, "SMBs are on track to spend more on security this year than they did last year, and the trend is still growing."

All of Sana's employees, along with its research component, Sana Labs, will be fully integrated into AVG, which will give AVG its first offices in Silicon Valley.