Sunday 9 September 2012

Google acquires VirusTotal

A blog post on Virus Total's website confirms Google has acquired it. Although the amount paid by Google for the acquisition is not known, the move gives the search giant a resource tool to keep its products and services protected from malware. VirusTotal is a free online service for scanning files and URLs to spot viruses, worms, trojans and other malicious content detected by antivirus engines and website scanners. Elaborating on the recent turn of events, VirusTotal writes in its blog post, “Our goal is simple: to help keep you safe on the web. And we’ve worked hard to ensure that the services we offer continually improve. But as a small, resource-constrained company, that can sometimes be challenging.”

The cybersecurity start-up notes further that the coming together with its long-time partner, Google will spell bad news for malware generators. Explaining this, it adds that now with Google onboard, the quality and power of its malware research will get better and will most likely become faster too. Going further, the post says that Google’s infrastructure will ensure that its tools are always ready and right at the time they are needed.

The post adds, “VirusTotal will continue to operate independently, maintaining our partnerships with other antivirus companies and security experts. This is an exciting step forward. Google has a long track record working to keep people safe online and we look forward to fighting the good fight together with them.”

A recent report had ascertained that the Google Play store was found to have some more malware hosted, a discovery that demonstrates the limits of the recently deployed scanning service that scours Google Play for malicious smartphone apps. The trojan, Android.Dropdialer, which racks up expensive charges from forced phonecalls to premium numbers, was found in two separate apps that weren’t identified for weeks, reports a blog post on the Symantec website by Irfan Asrar, a researcher with the antivirus provider.

In one of our reports earlier this year, it had been revealed that Google would begin issuing prompt warnings atop the pages of those users, who Google believes may become the target of state-sponsored attacks. This move by the search giant was part of its activity for looking out for malicious activity on the web, and taking appropriate action. A recently surfaced security glitch in Internet Explorer was causing some Gmail users to get messages warning them that they may be the target of a suspected state-sponsored attack.

Google at the time had advised that should a user find a warning on her page, she should:
Create a unique password, i.e, one with a good mix of capital and lowercase letters, as well punctuation marks and numbers;
Enable 2-step verification as additional security;
Update browser, operating system, plugins, and document editors.

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