PestPatrol Roots Out Spyware In The Enterprise

Anti-spyware software vendor PestPatrol has rolled out PestPatrol Corporate Edition 5.0, which offers a centrally managed defense against spyware to enterprises.

June 10, 2004

3 Min Read
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Anti-spyware software vendor PestPatrol on Wednesday rolled out PestPatrol Corporate Edition 5.0, which offers a centrally managed defense against spyware to enterprises.

Spyware is software loaded surreptitiously on systems, typically by piggybacking on other popular programs, such as file-sharing tools. It can be used for relatively mundane tasks, such as tracking a user's online activity, or can be leveraged by hackers to capture keystrokes and copy personal data from hard drives.

It's a major problem, according to a survey of more than a million systems that Internet service provider EarthLink and anti-spyware vendor Webroot released in April. On average, each PC surveyed contained nearly 28 pieces of spyware.

Spyware has also caught the attention of the government, which sees it as the next dangerous Internet threat. The U.S. House of Representatives, for instance, held hearings on spyware in April, an anti-spyware bill has been introduced in the Senate, and proposed laws in California are moving through that state's legislature.

Most spyware tools have been aimed at consumers, including earlier software from PestPatrol, and lack the kind of control and management features enterprises need.Corporate Edition, on the other hand, lets administrators centrally manage anti-spyware protection for an unlimited number of network desktops, both local and remote. From a single console, the IT staff can activate manual or automated spyware scans of any desktop on the network and can monitor spyware detection, quarantining, and removal on the desktops through event-logging. The scans take place without any end-user intervention.

"A centrally managed anti-spyware solution is desperately needed in the corporate world," said Eric Ogren, a senior analyst with the Yankee Group. "Relying on end-users to initiate ad hoc anti-spyware scans is a sure way to leave security holes in your network."

Spyware is a problem in the enterprise, and isn't all hype, as the recent run toward legislation may lead some to think, said Ogren. "Spyware is a real issue, but it's not the only issue," he said. "What will happen is an evolution and merging into what I call 'whole host integrity' that will protect desktops from such things as key loggers, buffer overflows, and phishing attacks."

Corporate Edition lets network administrators define granular rules for spyware scanning, including white- and blacklists of authorized applications, and fine-tuning by department or individual. Scans for spyware can be scheduled for automatic runs at pre-set times, or when a remote computer logs onto the network.

PestPatrol has also expanded its database of spyware profiles to launch Corporate Edition.Ogren likes what he sees in PestPatrol's initial effort in the enterprise arena. "What's important is that [Corporate Edition] makes removing spyware manageable from IT and supports high numbers of desktops," he said. "That's not the glamour work, but it's crucial to enterprises."

Carlisle, Pa.-based PestPatrol isn't the only vendor pursuing anti-spyware dollars, said Yankee Group's Ogren. Symantec has some limited spyware tools in its AntiVirus product line, and Webroot, the maker of SpySweeper, is also active in the enterprise space. Another company, WholeSecurity, offers anti-spyware features in the service it sells to major online retailers to ensure that customer's machines are free of threats before a purchase is permitted.

"Anti-virus software alone doesn't stop enough attacks," said Ogren. "Spyware is stuff that's harder to identify."

PestPatrol Corporate Edition 5.0 is available via subscription at prices starting at $319.50 for a one-year 10-seat license.

Late last month, PestPatrol's consumer-grade anti-spyware technology debuted as part of a beta version of the next edition of Yahoo's Toolbar, a free download that includes search functions and pop-up ad blocking, as well as the spyware-detection and -deletion features provided by PestPatrol.0

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