Webroot to ship spyware/antivirus combination for SMBs

Webroot is ready to ship its consumer and SMB spyware/antivirus software

Webroot, which partnered with Sophos in order to combine its antivirus technology with Webroot's antispyware, says it has ready a consumer product for PCs and expects to have an antispyware/antivirus product by year-end for the small-to-midsize business segment.

Webroot's CTO, Gerhard Eschelbach, said the consumer version of SpySweeper with AntiVirus is ready, and the SMB version, which will include centralized reporting and management, will ship by year-end.

A version for the large enterprises, where software deployment typically includes a way to reach a distributed geographic base, will follow at some point.

The pricing on the consumer version of SpySweeper with AntiVirus is US$39.95; the pricing for the SMB version has not been announced.

Webroot will be supporting the 32-bit version of Vista in its SpySweeper products, Eschelbach says, but the company hasn't started on products for the 64-bit version with PatchGuard, Microsoft's technology for preventing subversion of the Vista operating system.

Controversy has erupted over PatchGuard because a number of security vendors have expressed concerns that it affects their products' effectiveness. Symantec, for instance, wants Microsoft to approve additional interfaces for Vista, and Microsoft has indicated it may undertake that effort but that these interfaces probably wouldn't be ready until Vista Service Pack 1.

"I am optimistic Microsoft will open up the doors appropriately," said Eschelbach, adding he does foresee a small impact on Webroot's antispyware because of PatchGuard.

In related news, Authentium, which says it has found a way to disable the Vista PatchGuard mechanism, wants Microsoft to certify a specific interface to enable its products, including a banking security application called VirtualATM, to work well with 64-bit Vista's PatchGuard.

"What we would like to see is Microsoft certification of our approach, so we can license our technology to online banks and other financial institutions for the purposes for which it was designed, to protect banking customers and secure online transactions," said John Sharp, Authentium's chair and CEO.

He added Authentium does not plan to publicly reveal how it disabled the PatchGuard mechanism.

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