Microsoft Corp announced yesterday that it has acquired Giant Company Software, a provider of anti-spyware and Internet security products. Microsoft will use intellectual property and technology assets from the acquisition to provide Microsoft Windows customers with new tools to help protect them from the threat of spyware and other deceptive software.
“Spyware is a serious and growing problem for PC users, and customers have made it clear that they want Microsoft to deliver effective solutions to protect against the threat,” said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Security Business and Technology Unit at Microsoft. “Through this acquisition we’re excited to be able to provide near-term relief to Windows customers by offering new technology to help keep spyware and other deceptive software off their PCs.”
Microsoft plans to make available to Windows customers a beta version of a spyware protection, detection and removal tool, based on the Giant AntiSpyware product, within one month. The upcoming beta will scan a customer’s PC to locate spyware and other deceptive software threats and enable customers to remove them. The tool will be configurable to block known spyware and other unwanted software from being installed on the computer. It will be available for Microsoft Windows 2000 and later versions.
Microsoft said in a statement that Spyware is an emerging breed of malicious software that can range from unwanted pop-up ads to unseen programs that record keystrokes or take over a person’s PC. Spyware and other unwanted software can slow PC performance, change a computer’s configuration, and steal passwords and personal information. A November 2004 IDC study estimated that 67 percent of consumer PCs are infected with some form of spyware.
“Spyware is an industrywide challenge, and it is encouraging to see Microsoft take strong action to protect Windows users,” said Chris Christiansen, vice president of security products and services program at IDC. “This announcement and the release of the free beta will help consumers regain control over their PCs.”