Antivirus scanning becoming inadequate, says Webroot CEO

Buys Prevx to provide alternative

US antivirus vendor Webroot has bought UK-based Prevx in an acquisition that looks like the latest symptom of the growing dissatisfaction among security companies with the current signature-based scanning model for detecting malware.

On the face of it a 20-person software security company based in Derby is an unlikely bride for an ambitious US outfit looking to grow. But since its founding as long ago as 2001, Prevx has been a pioneer of the application fingerprinting technology that in the cloud services era has suddenly become ultra-fashionable.

Webroot will now spend the next six months integrating Prevx's cloud-oriented application profiling into its own development program. The Derby employees will be retained and the technical effort spread to engineers based in the US and Austria.

Further down the track, it looks as if the Prevx approach will be used to supplement the company's signature-based scanning antivirus products with a possible view to replacing it entirely when the market is deemed ready.

Application fingerprinting is a very different approach than signature-based detection, and is based on separating the thousands of known good apps from unknown and suspect ones. Any unknown programs encountered are compared to fingerprints in a cloud database to determine whether they are harmful and if they can't be identified at all they are blocked as a precaution.

The advantage is that the PC does not need to keep updating itself with signatures of every piece of malware, a chore for most users. The hard work is done remotely.

"They are a minimum of two to three years ahead of anyone else," said Webroot CEO, Dick Williams as a rationale for buying Prevx rather than matching its development inhouse.

"Over time signature-based solutions will become inadequate," he agreed.

Webroot has been on a modest spending spree recently, acquiring California-based BrightCloud and Email Systems Scandinavia (ESS) of Sweden during 2010.

As it builds a service-based presence, including cloud security, Webroot itself could become a takeover target at some point.

After re-developing its software over the years, Prevx has achieved some success in niche markets such as online bank security with products such as SafeOnline.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Webrootsecurity

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E Dunn

Techworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?