Antivirus specialist Trend Micro on Wednesday said it has acquired HijackThis, a tool used to remove spyware from Windows PCs.
HijackThis is a free tool developed by Dutch student Merijn Bellekom. The tool is mostly used by technical users to pinpoint spyware infections on Windows machines and help remove them. It has been downloaded more than 10 million times, according to Trend Micro.
"HijackThis is a virtual standard in the antispyware world and has received many accolades," Trend Micro said in a statement. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Trend Micro is readying a new beta version of HijackThis that works with Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7. Other additions include an "AnalyzeThis" feature that lets users see the prevalence of threats detected on their PCs, Trend Micro said.
Bellekom sold HijackThis because university obligations left no time to work on the software, according to a blog post. "I had been sitting on an unfinished update for over a year, and I still could not make enough time to finish it," he wrote. Bellekom previously sold CWShredder, a tool to remove the CoolWebSearch spyware, to InterMute, which in turn was taken over by Trend Micro.
In addition to the HijackThis beta, Trend Micro on Wednesday announced an early version of TrendProtect, a new browser plug-in to help people be safe while browsing the Web. TrendProtect, similar to McAfee's SiteAdvisor and other tools, gives color-coded information regarding the overall reputation of a Web site.
"These releases further Trend Micro's ongoing commitment to providing customers with free tools and services enabling increased security defenses," the Tokyo-based company said in a statement.
The HijackThis 2.0 beta and the TrendProtect beta are slated to be available on TrendMicro's TrendSecure Web site next week, the company said. The HijackThis beta is already available from Download.com, a division of CNET Networks, the publisher of News.com. Both products will initially be compatible only with English language operating systems. This first release of TrendProtect rates .com, .net, .org and .biz Web pages, Trend Micro said.