Symantec Incorporates Spyware Improvements, Repair

The product, Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10.0, was launched at the RSA Conference in San Francisco.

While Symantec's anti-spyware capabilities come months after competitors McAfee and Check Point Software Technologies launched their own wares, the Symantec product is the first to feature spyware repair tools. According to Kevin Haley, group product manager, this is precisely what sets the Symantec product apart.

"Firewalls are great at blocking spyware and adware, but what they're not doing is repair," he said. "This provides a more complete solution from the beginning."

As Haley explained, the new version will remove and repair spyware much like older versions have removed and repaired viruses. Haley predicted that eventually, the market will evolve so that spyware is not a separate category, but "part and parcel" of an overarching anti-threat solution.

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The tool also will contain a whitelist feature through which users can pick which forms of spyware to accept. He cited popular and innocuous forms of spyware, such as the Weatherbug desktop weather service, as the kinds of spyware that users might want to allow.

In related announcements, Symantec launched a new version of its Client Security software that will protect remote users against spyware and blended threats, and added protection against spyware and bots to its Symantec Network Security 7100 Series of Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) appliances.

Still, some solution providers questioned how these new anti-spyware capabilities would actually help them set up recurring revenue streams through services.

"We make most of our spyware money in removal and repair," said David Sockol, president of Emagined Security, San Carlos, Calif. "With those now being part of the product, we'll just have to focus on selling more of that."

All of the improvements were expected to be available by early March.