October 12, 2006 10:30 AM PDT

Webroot expands beyond spyware niche

Webroot Software is expanding beyond the spyware niche by teaming with antivirus company Sophos, a critical move as Microsoft gets ready to ship Windows Vista.

The Boulder, Colo.-based anti-spyware specialist will license Sophos technology for use in consumer and enterprise products, including its flagship Spy Sweeper software, Webroot said in a statement Wednesday. The first hybrid antivirus and anti-spyware product is slated to be announced by the end this month, it said.

"Spyware and viruses are the two most dangerous types of Internet security threats facing PC users today," David Moll, Webroot's chief executive, said in a statement. "We will protect users from these threats with a single, intuitive solution."

Webroot is expanding beyond its niche of busting spyware as it faces a serious threat to its business: Microsoft's Windows Vista. Analysts have said Vista, which is being designed to shut the door on spyware, could put niche players such as Webroot out of business.

Spyware, insidious software that pops up ads on screens or spies on PC users, has become a serious security problem for users of Microsoft's operating systems in recent years, giving rise to a host of third-party tools to fight the insidious software.

While anti-spyware used to be the terrain of small, specialty companies such as Webroot, it is quickly becoming more of a commodity. Security companies such as McAfee and Symantec have added anti-spyware detection to their products, for example.

Vista, the long-awaited successor to Windows XP slated to be broadly available in January, will introduce important changes at the heart of the operating system, as well as to Internet Explorer, and include Windows Defender, an anti-spyware tool. Microsoft has described Vista as the most secure version of Windows yet.

See more CNET content tagged:
Webroot Software Inc., anti-spyware, Sophos Plc., spyware, threat

9 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Spysweeper is the best anti-spyware out there
I used to work for Geeks on Call during the height of the spyware frenzy, and I became a firm believer in Webroot's product. It found things that nothing else could touch. I laugh when I see writers say "Vista could kill niche players like Webroot". Heck no, its going to mean even more business I bet.

Webroot and the other guys: If you are listening, here is what would be a godsend, a portable bootable version of your application that runs off a CD and/or USB flashdrive, and can scan an infected PC *INCLUDING* the registry on the infected system.

I do volunteer work for a charitable geek group called Lifebyte.org, and we hold "PC-Washes" for poor and non-technical people, for free. Often I'll find a machine that is so badly infected with Spyware (and usually is lacking memory too, but thats another issue) and virii that it will not boot within a reasonable timeframe, so I'll take a USB2 to IDE adapter cable and plug the sick PC's drive into my laptop and scan it clean, then go back and manually rescan it after it boots back up to clean the registry.
Posted by Amigoid (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Spysweeper is the best anti-spyware out there
I'd have to agree with you. Spysweeper is absolutely great. But I
did encounter some spyware it couldn't even nail, at least at the
revision I was using at the time.

Nonetheless, they were the best I used.

Charles R. Whealton
Charles Whealton @ pleasedontspam.com
Posted by chuck_whealton (521 comments )
Link Flag
Webroot solves old problems - Symantec amd mcAfee solves the new problems
Anti-virus and anti-spyware are old problems. Both Sophos and Webroot miss the point - in order to compete they need a solution for the new threats. When I buy online and manage my bank account I want to feel safe. Site advisor and Norton confidential give me a better level of comfort than Webroot and Sophos that did not address the real Internet fraud problem
Posted by ba_oren (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They haven't missed the point...
Site Advisor and Norton makes you feel confident? Anti-virus and anti-spyware are old problems?

Sophos does do webfiltering, spyware and virus detection that beats anything Symantec or McAfee has - unfortunately they don't focus on home use. I'd still trust Webroot over McAfee and Symantec anyday - just for the simple fact that they're McAfee and Symantec.

As I see it, McAfee and Symantec are too busy worrying about Mircosoft. Norton used to be a good product until Symantec came along and McAfee has just lost it.

In my opinion, Sophos and Webroot haven't missed the point - they don't use two different applications like both McAfee and Symantec do - why pay extra - why administer two products when they can be rolled into one?
Posted by Tragic_Hipster (3 comments )
Link Flag
They haven't missed the point...
Site Advisor and Norton makes you feel confident? Anti-virus and anti-spyware are old problems?

Sophos does do webfiltering, spyware and virus detection that beats anything Symantec or McAfee has - unfortunately they don't focus on home use. I'd still trust Webroot over McAfee and Symantec anyday - just for the simple fact that they're McAfee and Symantec.

As I see it, McAfee and Symantec are too busy worrying about Mircosoft. Norton used to be a good product until Symantec came along and McAfee has just lost it.

In my opinion, Sophos and Webroot haven't missed the point - they don't use two different applications like both McAfee and Symantec do - why pay extra - why administer two products when they can be rolled into one?
Posted by Tragic_Hipster (3 comments )
Link Flag
They haven't missed the point...
Site Advisor and Norton makes you feel confident? Anti-virus and anti-spyware are old problems?

Sophos does do webfiltering, spyware and virus detection that beats anything Symantec or McAfee has - unfortunately they don't focus on home use. I'd still trust Webroot over McAfee and Symantec anyday - just for the simple fact that they're McAfee and Symantec.

As I see it, McAfee and Symantec are too busy worrying about Mircosoft. Norton used to be a good product until Symantec came along and McAfee has just lost it.

In my opinion, Sophos and Webroot haven't missed the point - they don't use two different applications like both McAfee and Symantec do - why pay extra - why administer two products when they can be rolled into one?
Posted by Tragic_Hipster (3 comments )
Link Flag
PC Security
A couple of years ago, I purchased a Compaq Presario with Windows XP Home edition. I began reading articles about PC security and began purchasing and downloading anti-spyware programs, anti-virus programs, a firewall and an anti-pop-up program. I feel pretty secure now, but my computer has almost come to a complete stop. It takes forever to accomplish any task. My anti-spyware and anti-virus programs tell me I have no spyware or viruses, so I need to know what the problem is and how to solve it. I haven't read any articles about computers running very slow except those that say you have spyware.

I'd also like to know if I should buy combined security packages in the future like Webroot, McAfee or Symantec or separate programs. I'm beginning to believe that it's all these security programs I have that are bogging down my system. It takes more than five minutes to boot up and at least two minutes just to access the Internet.

I've reached a point where after spending all this money on PC security, I should either remove all these programs so I can use my computer again or just disconnet it from the Internet. I even purchased a registry repair program and ran Disk Cleanup to no avail.

Please addvise.

Thank you very much,

Steve Thomas
Posted by Canineman (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I have installed on my laptops, McAfee Total Security 2010 yet I've encountered two viruses in the past two months on one laptop (the one I use the most) and I am now really concerned about Mcafee's capability. My laptop scans daily and to me is not as user friendly as 2008. I'm trying to figure out what is the best antivirus/spyware software to install. Previously I had McAfee Total Security 2008 installed and never had theses problems. I'm curious, it does not seem that 2010 is as good as 2008. In addition, it totaly degrades my system tremendeously when the scan is taking place. I thought Mcafee was to protect me from such problems. Curretly, one of my laptops have been totally disabled by a 'Personal Security' virus. I'm really frustrated with the reocurring problem and the cost to have these viruses removed. I've heard that Webroot is a better alternative to McAfee and Norton (used both). On the other hand, I've read the opposite. I'm looking for advice, please help. Thank you.
Posted by ruckswip (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Every time I have a customer come in with virus problems on their computer they either have Norton or McAfee installed on their computers. I have never had one with a virus problem with Webroot's Antivirus software.
Posted by ghhts (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.