Grisoft to Enhance AV Software with Acquisition

Antivirus solution provider Grisoft announced that it will acquire Exploit Prevention Labs, maker of real-time URL-scanning technologies.

Exploit Prevention Labs is known for its LinkScanner Lite and Pro products, both of which help protect against links to malicious content in Web browsers, including search results. The products work by scanning TCP streams from Web page traffic in real time. They can also scan Web pages in search results to deliver a safety rating before a user decides whether to click on a given link.

"Web exploits are a dynamic problem that requires a real-time solution," said Roger Thompson, co-founder and CTO of Exploit Prevention Labs. "In today's Web 2.0 world of user-generated content and hyperlinked-everything, a web page can be safe one minute and dangerous the next. LinkScanner technology provides definitive real-time threat protection at the time that matters most - when the user clicks the link."

The company's LinkScanner Pro product uses a driver to scan TCP streams to detect exploit payloads and to look for connection attempts to IP addresses that are known to host malicious content. Thompson said scanning streams adds far better security than only using simple IP blacklists. "Scanning for bad IPs is very fast, but because bad sites are so transient, it's only useful for static exploit hubs," Thompson added.

Grisoft said that Exploit Prevention Labs' employees will join Grisoft's AVG business. Grisoft also said that it will integrate LinkScanner technology into its free AVG Anti-Virus product and will continue to offer Exploit Prevention Labs' online link scanner, which lets people quickly scan any URL. Grisoft will also continue to provide Link Scanner as a standalone offering.

Grisoft's acquisition puts it in more direct competition with companies such as McAfee with its SiteAdvisor technology. McAfee acquired SiteAdvisor in April 2006 and began offering the service free to the public. In November 2006, McAfee launched a paid service, SiteAdvisor Plus, that adds the ability to rank links in email messages and IMs to the standard features of ranking links in Web browsers, including those links returned by various search engines.

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