Symantec Unveils Anti-Botware

Tool aimed at tough-to-detect bot infections

It may be the start of a whole new security product category, anti-botware: Symantec today will roll out Norton AntiBot, a real-time bot detection and removal software package.

Antivirus and anti-spyware packages typically are unable to catch or protect client machines from advanced botnet infections -- signature-based technology can't keep up with botnets that are constantly reinventing themselves.

Ed Kim, director of product management for Symantec, says the company's new software is a stand-alone package that adds another layer of protection and works with existing AV products either from Symantec or other vendors. "This adds a layer of real-time behavioral protection," he says. "Other behavioral [technologies] use emulation and create a secure sandbox where they allow the threat to run, but that tends to be resource-intensive... and many times, still rely on signatures."

Many users have no clue their machines are bot-infected, and these infections are becoming increasingly tough to detect and eradicate. Symantec recently reported that there were over 6 million active bots during the last six months of 2006, a nearly 30 percent increase from the first half of the year. "It's become a very serious issue," Kim says.

Rob Enderle, principal with the Enderle Group, says the Symantec product is the only one he's aware of that can "maintain a high hit rate" on constantly evolving and obfuscating bots.

Symantec's Kim says AntiBot analyzes the behavior of applications and files, and if any malware is detected, remediates the infected machine. The software is priced at $29.99 and includes a one-year subscription to Symantec's updates.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

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