COAST slips into the night

The departure of Computer Associates looks to be the last nail in the coffin of the anti-spyware consortium COAST

A global anti-spyware initiative consisting of a number of large vendors, COAST, has crumbled after the exit of several members, leaving the coordinated fight against spyware in disparate hands.

Founding member Computer Associates, which owns Pest Patrol anti-spyware software, pulled out yesterday along with fellow founding members Aluria and Webroot.

LavaSoft, which produces the popular Ad-Aware software, has also quit the group having been a member since the start.

Reports suggest LavaSoft pulled out due to concerns over an apparent move to revenue generation by the group, while CA expressed its belief that the group had lost sight of the need for drafting effective anti-spyware standards.

Greater collaboration within the security industry and a sharing of knowledge and best practice has always been seen as something of a Holy Grail. In the past the antivirus industry has received criticism for keeping its cards too close to its chests while talking up the shared goal of protecting users.

However, Sam Curry, vice-president of eTrust security management at CA, said the company is still committed to working with other vendors in order to further the fight against spyware, insisting it was the COAST framework which was flawed rather than the ideal.

"We remain committed to working with other vendors and researchers to create standards that will improve the security and usability of the internet for all," said Curry.

Former COAST member Webroot also announced today that it has secured a significant round of funding.

The spyware firm has raised $108m from investors including Accel, Mayfield and TCV -- its first bout of outside funding.

The company said it will be spending the money on improving its route-to-market.

The backing could be seen as an affirmation of the importance companies are now putting on the problem of spyware and the faith investors have in the companies combating the problem.

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