Ex-Softies launch anti-malware start-up

Summary:A quartet of former Microsoft employees have launched an anti-malware start-up, joining an established list of companies using browser plugins to thwart drive-by exploits.

Ex-Softies launch anti-malware start-up
A quartet of former Microsoft employees have launched an anti-malware start-up, joining an established list of companies touting browser plugins an an answer to the threat from drive-by exploits.

The company, called Haute Secure, is offering an Internet Explorer add-on that uses behavior-based profiling algorithms to identify and intercept malicious files in real-time.

The concept is hardly new and it's not clear how Haute Secure plans to distinguish itself from similar offerings from McAfee (SiteAdvisor), Trend Micro (TrendProtect), and my personal favorite, Roger Thompson's LinkScanner.

Google's recent purchase of GreenBorder Technologies, a company that sells browser virtualization software, is a strong hint that the search giant will also be a player in this space -- most likely via the Google Toolbar in IE and Firefox.

[ SEE: Trend Micro launches SiteAdvisor competitor ]

The fact that the company is the brainchild of former Microsoft security staffers could be a blessing -- and a curse -- depending on your level of satisfaction with the security of software coming out of Redmond.

The four founders are Iain Mulholland, a former security strategist and manager of the MSRC (Microsoft Security Response Center); Frank Swiderski, a software architect who did stints at Microsoft and @Stake; Rob Vucic, who worked at Redmond on Microsoft’s Secure Windows Initiative Internet Crime Investigations team; and Steve Anderson, who worked on the Windows Server team at Microsoft.

Haute Secure's plugin is currently offered as a free beta product but there are hints that future versions will be subscription-based, much like SiteAdvisor and LinkScanner. Support for Mozilla Firefox is coming down the pike.

TechCrunch reports that the company launched with $500,000 in funding from Baseline Ventures and Ron Conway. Also see this Alex Ionescu review.

Topics: Microsoft, Security


Ryan Naraine is a journalist and social media enthusiast specializing in Internet and computer security issues. He is currently security evangelist at Kaspersky Lab, an anti-malware company with operations around the globe. He is taking a leadership role in developing the company's online community initiative around secure content managem... Full Bio

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