March 14, 2007 2:39 PM PDT

Trend Micro acquires HijackThis antispyware tool

Antivirus specialist Trend Micro on Wednesday said it has acquired HijackThis, a tool used to remove spyware from Windows PCs.

HijackThis is a free tool developed by Dutch student Merijn Bellekom. The tool is mostly used by technical users to pinpoint spyware infections on Windows machines and help remove them. It has been downloaded more than 10 million times, according to Trend Micro.

"HijackThis is a virtual standard in the antispyware world and has received many accolades," Trend Micro said in a statement. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Trend Micro is readying a new beta version of HijackThis that works with Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7. Other additions include an "AnalyzeThis" feature that lets users see the prevalence of threats detected on their PCs, Trend Micro said.

Bellekom sold HijackThis because university obligations left no time to work on the software, according to a blog post. "I had been sitting on an unfinished update for over a year, and I still could not make enough time to finish it," he wrote. Bellekom previously sold CWShredder, a tool to remove the CoolWebSearch spyware, to InterMute, which in turn was taken over by Trend Micro.

In addition to the HijackThis beta, Trend Micro on Wednesday announced an early version of TrendProtect, a new browser plug-in to help people be safe while browsing the Web. TrendProtect, similar to McAfee's SiteAdvisor and other tools, gives color-coded information regarding the overall reputation of a Web site.

"These releases further Trend Micro's ongoing commitment to providing customers with free tools and services enabling increased security defenses," the Tokyo-based company said in a statement.

The HijackThis 2.0 beta and the TrendProtect beta are slated to be available on TrendMicro's TrendSecure Web site next week, the company said. The HijackThis beta is already available from Download.com, a division of CNET Networks, the publisher of News.com. Both products will initially be compatible only with English language operating systems. This first release of TrendProtect rates .com, .net, .org and .biz Web pages, Trend Micro said.

See more CNET content tagged:
Trend Micro Inc., HijackThis, beta, anti-spyware, spyware

4 comments

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Will this remain free?
The story doesn't say anything about whether the program will remain free to use. My guess is no. Any info on potential price/license terms would be nice.
Posted by C_G_K (169 comments )
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Re: Will this remain free?
If you read it again you will see that Trend Micro does offer free. I am an experienced user with Trend Micro Antispyware which is best, and to stop those arguements just download the top ten trialwares - it even beat industry leader Webroot. Anyway, the HiJackThis is by the same person who invented the original CWShredder utility which is the only known softare to remove the CoolWebSearch Toolbar and all it's variants. This threat (CWS Toolbar) is the only threat in the world with it's own software created to remove it - which is the testamnet to the software author (who also created HiJackThis). The original CWShredder was aquired by Trend Micro and remains free from them as the stand alone utility anyone can download and use for life. It is also instituted into trend Micro Antispyware. No doubt this is the same route that the original HiJackThis utility is going - but as mentioned in the story here, is being improved as the software (HJT) author has mentioned he was unable to do for over a year due to time constraints. The improvements no doubt will bring HiJackThis up to speed with the more advanced Emsisoft.com freeware a-squared Hi-Jack Free utility. Do note that most "fix buttons" are NOT removing adware and spyware installations in full or BHO toolbars. You need know that these malware applications are not just an Active X entry in the Windows Registry but almost as many (and sometimes more) files and registry entries as valid software. Usually the "fix it" button only deletes the Active X control registry key thus disabling the application. If so, this can lead to complete unstability of Internet Explorer due to any additional files or mainly registry keys and other entries. Another danger is the left over files being picked up by cyber criminals who develope the dreaded Rootkits threats which can use this slopiness by these people to re-use the "sleeper" orphans and re-install several combined threats turning the computer into an instant "zombie pc" adding it to a "zombie network" and all while you sleep. These are also called malware "botnets" - zombie networks. No doubt Trend Micro will add defintions to the "Fix This" button because of these flaws. In other words, simply unregistering some system32 file does not get rid of spyware - which other inferior products like Spybot may preach. You must have a clean uninstall for personal and computer safety - period.
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Posted by gerald_309 (1 comment )
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Re: Will this remain free?
I have used Trend Micro's free online scan a number of times and it seems fairly effective.

I suspect they will allow non-business users free access to the Hi-Jack This program or fold it into their scanning program.

They seem to get most of their revenue from serving business customers.
Posted by freemarket--2008 (5058 comments )
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Great software down the pisser......
Not that I blame them (I'd proably sell out too if enough cash flowed my way) but it is a sad day to see yet another great piece of software gobbled up by corporate greed.
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
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