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“Is Spyware Real?”

March 4, 2005: Sunbelt Software CEO Alex Eckelberry blogged his disagreement with comments made by AV pioneer Eugene Kaspersky about a new thing called “spyware.”

Alex quoted him as saying: “The term spyware is basically a marketing gimmick… Just to separate new ersatz-security products from traditional ones, just to push almost zero-value products to the security market.”

The Sunbelt CEO explained that spyware was real and traditional AV vendors were ignoring it: “The term ‘spyware’, obviously, is a broad term encompassing lots of different categories of malware. Really, what people mean when they say spyware is ‘adware’ — stuff that loads your machine up with junk ads, turns it into the equivalent of an electronic toaster, and makes your life hell.”

He also pointed readers to a March 1, 2005, PCWorld review that found that Sunbelt’s CounterSpy anti-spyware product caught 85 percent of a test set of 81 adware and spyware samples.

Today, five years later, more than 47,000 detections (of the total 13 million detections) in the VIPRE and CounterSpy signature database are classified as “adware.”

Sunbelt now sells a range of full-blown anti-malware products. They do much better than 85 percent detections and have VB100 certification as well.

Sunbelt Software has grown a bit in five years. VIPRE version 4.0 just shipped and the office space that held the entire company in 2005 is now mostly our server room.

Read 2005 blog post here: Is Spyware Real?

Tom Kelchner