Trend Micro snaps up anti-spyware firm

InterMute is being bought for an estimated $15m

Antivirus company Trend Micro spending an estimated $15m (£8m) to buy an anti-spyware company.

InterMute is being bought just days after Trend Micro said it would sell its own anti-spyware technology to cut communication links between hackers and the computers they have compromised.

Spyware, such as password-stealing keyloggers, secretly sends personal information back to whoever planted it. Such software has been used to steal identity and banking information, and was implicated in a foiled bank robbery earlier this year.

According to press statements, InterMute’s products will be sold under the Trend Micro brand and will later be integrated into its software.

Trend Micro said the acquisition would let customers manage "grayware" — programs that cross the boundary of spyware and adware.

"Spyware continues to evolve and cause concern and damage, but not all spyware can be handled the way viruses and worms are," said Eva Chen, co-founder of Trend Micro. "Customers need effective solutions to remove spyware, but must also be given the flexibility on how to manage it. We expect to deliver combined solutions to market quickly."

Last month, Trend Micro released an update that was intended to combat Rbot worms, but caused weekend problems for IT workers. The company has since apologised for the incident.