Software giant buys Giant Software

Stepping up to combat spyware, Microsoft Corp. acquired Giant Company Software Inc., a provider of anti-spyware and Internet security products.

“Spyware is an emerging threat,” said Amy Carroll, director of management for the Microsoft Security and Business Unit with Microsoft in Redmond, Wash. “Our customers have been very clear in telling us they want Microsoft to help solve the problem.”

Based in New York, Giant Software provides Internet security products to small and large-sized businesses in North America. Its products include Giant Anti-Spyware, Popup Inspector and Spam Inspector.

Microsoft plans to make available in mid-January a downloadable beta version of Giant’s anti-spyware program that will protect and remove spyware from a user’s machine.

The beta will block known spyware programs and prevent spyware from installing itself on a machine.

Carroll could not comment on how Microsoft will release the full-version of the anti-spyware product or whether that final product will be stand-alone or directly incorporated into Microsoft’s security suite released with XP Service Pack 2.

“There are some things that we need to do at Microsoft to make sure it passes the quality bar and we want to get feedback from customers before we deliver a final product,” she added.

According to a recent audit by the Boulder, Colo., Webroot Software Inc., large enterprises are now suffering from the increasing presence of spyware on desktops and systems.

Using its Corporate SpyAudit tool, more than 10,000 systems in some 4,100 companies across the U.S. were scanned, and the results were not encouraging. The audit found an average of 20 pieces of spyware per corporate desktop computer and some five per cent of computers scanned were found to have either Trojan or system monitoring spyware on them, both are potential security threats.

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