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Snapshot: InterMute Anti-Spyware

Vendor Name: InterMute
Date of Publication: March 7, 2005
Authors: David Ferris, Richi Jennings
Source of Information: Andy Ostrom, Marketing Director
Quick Summary of Firm’s Offerings. InterMute offers various types of security software. Here we focus on its enterprise anti-spyware solutions.

Company Statistics

· # Full-Time Staff: 40
· # Full-Time Product Development Staff. 20
· Stock Market Status: Private
· Revenues: Not disclosed
· Profitability: Profitable in 2004
· # Live Paying Customer Seats: Enterprise product shipping for six weeks, 5,000 to 10,000 paying seats deployed.
· Other: Firm says its anti-Spyware revenues have doubled every quarter for the last three quarters, as of 1Q04.

SpySubtract Enterprise Edition

Product Name: SpySubtract Enterprise Edition
Product Functionality:
· Centrally managed anti-spyware solution
· Detects and removes spyware
· Spyware transfer detected in web browser channels
Platforms: Client runs on Windows NT, 2000, XP (Home or Professional), or Server 2003. Server runs on Windows 2000 (server or Professional), XP (professional), or Server 2003.
Competition: Top Three: Webroot, Sunbelt, Computer Associates. These compete in the enterprise space. There are other competitors but mainly in the consumer space.
Release Date: January 2005.
Pricing: At 25 seats, about $30/seat. At 10,000 seats, about $12/seat. This is for first year. The annual renewal price is about 50%.
Main Plans–Next 12 Months:
· Add advertisement blocking
· More ways that the client and console can communicate. Currently need a Microsoft Domain Server, in future customers will be able to use IP as a transport
· Extend the places where we monitor for spyware. E.g. today product looks at certain common OS entry points, ActiveX controls and JavaScript, browser helper objects, and registry entries. Further monitoring points will be added
· Enhanced Reporting.
Special Characteristics Claimed by Vendor: The vendor emphasizes strengths in the following areas:
· Console is Web browser-based so easier to use, plus can centrally manage many sites. Competitors use a native MS Windows interface
· Automatic priority management of scanning, so impact on end user minimized
· Based on MySQL database so can scale to many thousands of clients easily.
· Recently acquired CWShredder. This is a very powerful tool to suppress some of the most difficult and tenacious forms of spyware. InterMute claims this is the only commonly-agreed-upon way of suppressing browser highjackers like CoolWebSearch.
For Further Information. http://www.intermute.com.

Ferris Research Comments

· The anti-spyware market is in its early days, and is growing rapidly.
· Enterprises perceive the primary threat of spyware as the performance impact on their computers. Interestingly, they perceive the threat of the actual spying to be minimal, or even theoretical.
· Enterprise products need to be even more careful about false positives than do consumer products. For example, most anti-spyware products have historically flagged DoubleClick cookies as a threat, implying that the DoubleClick web advertising brokerage is delivering spyware, which it clearly is not. This is a feature of anti-spyware’s “hobbyist” roots. Enterprise products should ignore marginal threats such as these, and concentrate on eliminating high priority malware. The 80/20 rule applies.
· The enterprise product is new, but it’s based on an existing consumer scanning engine, which generally has a good reputation in the field.
· There’s a grey area between viruses/worms/trojans and spyware/adware. We blogged about the characteristics of spyware/adware recently.
· We doubt the firm’s claim that CWShredder. is the only commonly-agreed-upon way of suppressing browser highjackers.

One Comment

  1. Posted July 2, 2006 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

    “Enterprises perceive the primary threat of spyware as the performance impact on their computers. Interestingly, they perceive the threat of the actual spying to be minimal, or even theoretical.”

    That’s interesting. Maybe they think that spyware is only gathering generic info for their own marketing purposes? How did you find this out? I believe you, I am just curious.

  2. Posted July 3, 2006 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    Well, probably not any more. Bear in mind that we wrote this more than a year ago. It was broadly true then. Awareness of (for example) the consumer privacy issues is far greater today.

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