By Jack M. Germain
02/26/05 1:30 AM PT
Richard Stiennon, Webroot Vice President for Threat Research, said his company presently has 60 computers processing spyware information. He predicted needing a compliment of 100 computers dedicated to that purpose to complete the Phileas hardware.
A new search technology by Webroot Software takes a proactive approach to protecting computer users from spyware. It uses bots to find spyware buried deep within distribution centers.
Armed with the results of this robotic reconnaissance on the Web, Webroot engineers are able to build in better defenses and alerts, making its spyware definitions database more capable of protecting customers' computers from identity theft and other intrusive attacks.
Called "Phileas," the system is the anti-spyware industry's first automated spyware research system designed specifically to root out and identify spyware anywhere on the Web. Webroot markets an industry-leading anti-spyware package, SpySweeper 3.5.
"Phileas was designed to find new threats," Richard Stiennon, Webroot Vice President for Threat Research, told TechNewsWorld.
Webroot introduced Phileas January 10 and claims it is a significant advance in the battle against spyware. It identifies spyware, adware and other types of potentially unwanted software faster and is more comprehensive than any other current research method.
Stiennon said his company began looking for better methods of dealing with spyware last year when it became obvious that new spyware is always going to be available.
The company was hiring more workers to find threats and update the signature database. The obvious solution was to figure out how to automate the process of finding spyware before it found victims.
The result is a system that deploys software bots to search out spyware where it lives.
"Spyware sits on servers. So we use methods similar to Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) to find content on Web sites," Stiennon said.
In essence, Webroot's engineers put their own form of Web crawlers to work to find Web sites that harbor spyware.
"It certainly is an improvement over previously existing passive methods of dealing with spyware," Stiennon said.
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