Anti-Spyware: The New Frontier in the Security Software MarketBy Larry Seltzer | Print
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Opinion: What took the big security software companies so long? Spyware detection belongs with all the other malware scanning.So Roger Thompson thinks that spyware is the next great menace to computer users? Not surprising since he's been in the business of fighting spyware for a while, much longer than most of the security software establishment.
Thompson was vice president of product development at PestPatrol when CA bought that company just a few months ago. Just a week before he wrote about the urgency of the problem for eWEEK, and I had talked to him about it long before that.
Take a look at the names of these products. There's no end to the variations you can come up with for SpyThis and AdThat, and the marketing all sounds the same too. And it gets worse: As PC Magazine has found in its reviews (
I once asked someone at Symantec why their threat tracking systems don't track adware and spyware, and I got a weary look and a "How should we do it?" It's a really hard problem.
All these problemsthe difficulty, the confusion over a hundred competitors, the rogue productsare all reasons why protection against spyware needs to be sold by well-known brands, not one-man fly-by-nights.
A little clarification is needed here, and indeed it should be standard language in any spyware article: What we casually call "spyware" encompasses a number of categories of malware, only some of which are actual spyware. Keyloggers, for example, are a real problem, but I suspect this is the sort of threat that the anti-virus companies do handle well. What most people run into more often is adware, usually surreptitiously installed, that pops up windows with ads.
Smaller companies are trying to bring spyware protection to the enterprise. Look at Webroot's and Blue Coat's products for example. If the McAfees and Trends and Symantecs don't come up with real products for this, and for consumers, they're doing us all a disservice, because Roger Thompson is right. The problem is for real.
Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983.
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