Embattled Symantec fights enterprise spyware

Symantec wants to reduce enterprise spyware threat

Symantec is hoping to fight the growing threat from spyware and adware by improving its corporate antivirus application and updating the software in its security appliances.

Most specialist security and antivirus companies agree that spyware will be one of the most dangerous threats to corporate security this year because it is able to steal sensitive information including usernames, passwords and corporate secrets.

Brian Foster, senior director of product management for client and host security at Symantec, said that because the company's software is already installed on 100 million desktops and client systems, it is "uniquely qualified" to protect its customers from spyware and adware.

The latest updates to Symantec's product portfolio include the launch of Symantec Client Security 3.0 and Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10.0. Additionally, the company has also updated the software in its Network Security 7100 Series Intrusion Prevention appliance, which is now able to stop bots from communicating with the outside world and therefore stop transmissions of confidential information.

Sandeep Kumar, director of product management at Symantec, said the improved protection in its security appliance will allow organisations to focus their resources on business-critical applications.

"Across organisations of all sizes, spyware is fast becoming one of the greatest security concerns among enterprise customers. The new protection centrally blocks spyware and bots, increasing uptime and optimising bandwidth on the network," said Kumar.

However, Foster's and Kumar's comments come less than a week after Symantec admitted that the majority of its enterprise and consumer products contain a security flaw that would execute a virus instead of blocking it. At the time, Symantec said that in order to fix the problem, its customers would either have to apply a patch to most of their Symantec products or upgrade to the latest versions.

The company also warned that if customers do not upgrade or apply the necessary patches they were likely to come under attack from specially crafted viruses and worms.

In a survey published earlier this year by security specialists WatchGuard, two out of three IT managers and administrators said that spyware would be the biggest threat to the integrity of their networks in 2005. However, almost the same number of administrators (65 percent) said their networks had less protection against spyware than they did against viruses and phishing attacks.