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By | John Leyden 1st November 2010 13:19

Webroot snares UK security firm Prevx

Cloud tech used to turn back malware front

Internet security firm Webroot has acquired UK-based anti-malware firm Prevx. Financial terms of the deal, announced Monday, were undisclosed.

Webroot said it will use the deal to integrate Prevx’s technology into its cloud security services portfolio.

Prevx was founded in 2001 and initially focused on intrusion prevention software for desktops before redefining itself and focusing on behaviour-based malware detection. By using a cloud-based architecture, this security technology can be delivered with a smaller client and greater agility.

Other security vendors have chartered much the same route into cloud-based anti-malware protection, including Panda, Trend Micro, McAfee and others.

Prevx has some able security researchers onboard, including its director of malware research, former hacker Jacques Erasmus. But its methods are occasionally controversial. For example, the firm provided technical assistance to BBC Click with its infamous Hire a botnet "educational" caper in March 2009.

More recently, PrevX was obliged to backtrack on earlier claims that a Windows update had caused Windows machines to lock up with a so-called "Black Screen of Death". Mel Morris, PrevX chief exec, earned few friends by blaming the media for misreporting its earlier claims rather than admitting it might have misdiagnosed the problem.

PrevX was unable to supply a screengrab illustrating a "black screen" lock-ups in response to repeated requests from El Reg, despite claims the problem was far from isolated.

US-based Webroot began life as a successful anti-spyware software developer before branching into broader information security markets, largely by acquisition. ®

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