CA buys PestPatrol antispyware developer

Computer Associates International (CA) said Monday it acquired PestPatrol, a firm marketing antispyware software to enterprises, small businesses and individual consumers.

CA paid an undisclosed amount of cash for the company. CA plans to incorporate the PestPatrol products into its eTrust Threat Management software suite, which protects against viruses, spam and inappropriate use of the Web by employees, the company said.

CA has been looking for a "few months" for an antispyware software company to either buy or partner with after its enterprise customers identified spyware and other privacy threats as growing problems, said Sam Curry, vice president of eTrust Security Management at CA.

PestPatrol offered the broadest suite of antispyware tools, while some other vendors' products could identify but not eliminate spyware from corporate systems, Curry said. "They had the ability to fine it, identify it and get it off the system," he said. "This was a whole new area that traditional antivirus (software) doesn't address."

CA plans to keep most of the approximately 70 employees at PestPatrol, Curry added. "Part of our goal in acquiring them, in addition to the technology, was the people," he said.

The PestPatrol software is used in more than 100 countries and by companies such as Yahoo and Zero Knowledge Systems, according to a CA press release. The PestPatrol Software Developers' Toolkit enables integration with third-party Web services and business and consumer offerings.

PestPatrol complements traditional antivirus systems by giving network administrators the ability to define spyware scanning rules. Administrators can define "safe lists" or exclusion files of authorized applications, fine-tuned by department or individual, to prevent false alarms, according to the press release.

The PestPatrol Center for Pest Research, which provides computer users with free advice on how to delete malicious code and prevent infection, will be incorporated into CA's Security Advisor service. The Security Advisor service tracks global security threats through a global network of rapid response centers and relays security information to CA customers.

CA's buy was the second notable acquisition in the security software market on Monday, following McAfee's US$86 million purchase of vulnerability management software maker Foundstone.

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