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By | Dan Goodin 5th December 2007 05:02

Grisoft acquires LinkScanner

'Antivirus is dead'

Grisoft is to acquire Exploit Prevention Labs, a maker of software that gauges the safety of websites before end-users visit them. Grisoft will fold the technology into its AVG family of security software.

The acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of the month, will help Grisoft compete against its three bigger competitors, McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro. By integrating EPL's LinkScanner technologies into its antivirus and internet security products, Grisoft can warn customers about risky sites before they click on them.

Over the past 18 months, it's become commonplace for even large, reputable websites to be vectors of malware. Last month, for instance, the IndiaTimes website was found to be serving up at least 434 malicious files, many of which are not detected by anti-virus software, according to researchers at ScanSafe, another company that provides real-time analysis of websites.

"It became pretty obvious that the old antivirus [model] is dead, to be honest," said JR Smith, who became CEO of Grisoft earlier this year. "We're moving away from just protecting your laptop after you've been infected."

LinkScanner sits on a user's computer and monitors the outside world for exploits. When it detects one, it drops the connection, which prevents the attack from succeeding. It then reports the incident back to a central database so it can warn users who try to visit the same destination. LinkScanner automatically analyzes results returned by Google and other search engines and places a check mark next to sites believed to be safe.

Grisoft plans to offer LinkScanner Pro as a standalone product and also as part of the professional versions of its antivirus program and internet security suite. The company will integrate LinkScanner Lite, which contains fewer features, with a free version of AVG.

The companies didn't disclose financial terms. ®

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