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We take a close look at seven enterprise antispyware products. Can they keep your corporate desktops free of prying eyes?

Spyware has many organizations crying "Uncle!" Help desks are inundated with user complaints about incessant ads, slow system performance and dysfunctional machines. In response, many companies are deploying enterprise-wide antispyware products, finding that the easily quantifiable savings justify the expenditure.

Yet, help desk costs are the least sinister aspect of the spyware menace. Worst-case scenarios include the disclosure of sensitive corporate secrets or the theft of employees' personal information. Whatever the business case for deploying antispyware, the market has grown quickly. Antispyware companies have scrambled to extend their consumer offerings into centrally managed enterprise products, and antivirus providers have developed--or acquired--antispyware capabilities.

Enterprise-level antispyware is a young technology--the first centrally managed products appeared about two years ago. To see if it's ready for prime time, Information Security tested seven desktop antispyware tools designed for business environments: CA's eTrust PestPatrol Anti-Spyware 8.0; eSoft's Desktop Anti-Spyware 1.2. (an OEM rebranding of Aluria Software's Paladin); Lavasoft's Ad-Aware SE Enterprise Edition 1.7; McAfee's AntiSpyware Enterprise 8.5; SurfControl's Enterprise Threat Shield 3.0; Trend Micro's Anti-Spyware Enterprise

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Edition 3.0; and Webroot Software's Spy Sweeper Enterprise 2.5.

In our lab, we analyzed and graded their capabilities (see "Making the Grade") for enterprise management, resistance to common attacks, evasion techniques, and the ability to detect spyware using both behavior- and signature-based mechanisms.

This was first published in May 2006

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