Symantec Acquires Anti-Phishing Vendor WholeSecurity

On September 22, Symantec announced it would acuire WholeSecurity.

WholeSecurity offers technology that protects against:

  • Phishing websites. The technology looks at a website, and checks it against a dynamic database of phishing sites. It also checks for suspicious things. A simple example is clickable URLs purportedly going, to a well-known website, but which actually go to a covert one
  • Malicious code such as spyware and viruses. The technology works by observing abnormal behaviour on a computer, such as a small windows application that doesn't have any windows and which seems to be hiding from the user

This acquisition is probably good for Symantec and its customers. It will help Symantec offer simple bundles that protect against a broader range of threats--mainly viruses, spam, spyware, and phishihg. The technology helps to deal with zero-hour viruses, because it scans for strange PC behaviour rather than waiting for signatures.

The acquisition also opens an interesting new sales opportunity for Symantec. Symantec will be able to go to organizations that do business over the Internet, such as banks, eBay, Yahoo, and so on. These businesses will then be able to include Symantec's security software into their own offering. For example, when you sign up with a bank, the bank can offer you a toolbar that protects against phishing, or the bank can offer you a download that will check your PC is healthy, and monitor it on an ongoing basis for malware.

It's an all-cash deal; terms were not disclosed. WholeSecurity has 75 people, and has received $20M of venture money.

... David Ferris

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