Trend Micro has acquired HijackThis, the freeware spyware-removal program created by Merijn Bellekom.
Financial terms of the deal, believed to be all-cash, were not released. This is the second transaction between Trend Micro and Bellekmom, following the company's purchase of CWShredder, a standalone utility used to remove the virulent Cool Web Search spyware program.
HijackThis is the de-facto standard for spyware removal from Windows systems. The tool generates a plaintext logfile detailing all entries -- registry and file settings -- it finds and offers tech-savvy users the ability to remove or disable files associated with malware.
HijackThis, which will remain free under the Trend Micro brand, does not rely on a database of known spyware. Instead, it take a crossview approach to finding spyware on Windows boxes -- scanning a machine and creating a list of differences from a known spyware-free environment.
The new HijackThis 2.0 beta version works with Microsoft Vista and Internet Explorer 7. It has been fitted with an "AnalyzeThis" function that allows users to see how prevalent the threats detected on their computers are when compared to other HijackThis users.
TrendMicro also announced plans to launch a Web site security ratings rival to McAfee's SiteAdvisor. The new service, called TrendProtect, combines web site reputation monitoring and URL filtering for consumers.
Like SiteAdvisor, TrendProtect is a browser plug-in that adds visual warnings to sites linked from search engines. It is compatible with IE and Firefox and currently supports the Google, MSN and Yahoo search engines.
The market for Web site ratings has become rather crowded since McAfee bought SiteAdvisor last April.
Roger Thompson's Exploit Prevention Labs is also in the race with its highly rated LinkScanner, a safety ratings service that also features technology to block zero-day malware attacks.
Symantec is now the only big anti-virus player without a Web ratings service. A buyout of Exploit Prevention Labs is not such a crazy idea.