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CA picks up PestPatrol

Computer Associates International joins fight with buyout of anti-spyware company PestPatrol.

Computer Associates International is joining the spyware fight with the acquisition of PestPatrol, which makes software designed to identify and extract surveillance programs on PCs.

Financial terms of the all-cash deal were not disclosed.

Islandia, N.Y.-based Computer Associates said it will add PestPatrol to its suite of software tools, called eTrust Threat Management, which is intended to help stop computer viruses and spam, and to restrict employee's Internet access. CA will rename the software eTrust PestPatrol.

"This acquisition enhances CA's position as the world's leading provider of security management solutions for the safety of Internet connectivity and the integrity of computing environments in the office and home alike," Russell Artzt, executive vice president of eTrust security management at CA, said in a statement.

The deal underscores thinking that the underworld of the Net--spam, viruses and spyware--are intertwined and must be stopped collectively. Consolidation among security and spam-filtering companies has already swept the industry, and now programs that tackle spyware look like they could be the next expansion front for security software makers.

Spyware is nefarious software, often installed secretively via Web browser exploits or e-mail programs to track computer usage or keystrokes, steal credit card numbers or send spam. Adware, which PestPatrol also addresses, is typically more benign and is installed with free applications, such as file-sharing software like Kazaa. It monitors computer usage in order to send targeted ads.

PestPatrol, a four-year-old company based in Carlisle, Pa., has partnerships with companies such as Yahoo and Zero-Knowledge Systems. Yahoo recently introduced enhancements to its downloadable toolbar that include PestPatrol's spyware protection. PestPatrol's software is used in roughly 100 countries.