Google Acquires Antivirus Firm

Search engine giant Google continued its efforts to bolster security credentials with the acquisition of VirusTotal, which provides a free service analysing suspicious files and URLs and helps detect viruses, worms, Trojans and other malware.

The announcement was made via a VirusTotal blog post, which expressed excitement about the deal and reiterated its dedication to protecting computers from threats.

Firm will continue to operate independently

“We’re delighted that Google, a long-time partner, has acquired VirusTotal,” the company stated. “This is great news for you, and bad news for malware generators, because the quality and power of our malware research tools will keep improving, most likely faster; and Google’s infrastructure will ensure that our tools are always ready, right when you need them.”

The announcement also explained VirusTotal would continue to operate independently and would maintain partnerships with other antivirus companies and security experts.

The platform acts as an information aggregator, which accrues the output of different antivirus engines, website scanners, file and URL analysis tools and user contributions. The malware signatures of antivirus solutions present in VirusTotal are periodically updated as they are developed and distributed by the antivirus companies.

The company has also released a number of desktop applications and tools for interacting with the service, such as a one-click file uploader, browser extensions. According to the company’s website, there have also been a number of VirusTotal users that have developed their own applications and have made them publicly available on the Internet.

Technology publication PC Magazine received a statement from Google following an inquiry about the deal, which noted the importance of security and the substantial investment Google has made toward improving it.

“VirusTotal also has a strong track record in web security, and we’re delighted to be able to provide them with the infrastructure they need to ensure that their service continues to improve,” the statement read.

Automated application scanning

Earlier this year, Google introduced Bouncer, an automated scanning service that checks new and existing apps on Android Market for malware. Bouncer scans both new and existing apps for known malware, spyware and Trojans that could steal user data or access unauthorised features.

It also analyses new developer accounts to keep out developers who have been already kicked out of the marketplace or have a history of trying to distribute questionable apps.

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Nathan Eddy

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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