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Security Bytes: Symantec rumored to buy Veritas

In other news, 3Com acquires TippingPoint and the Zafi and Cabir worms resurface in enterprises.

Symantec in talks to acquire Veritas
Cupertino, Calif., antivirus firm Symantec is in talks to acquire Veritas Software, maker of data backup and storage programs, for more than $13 billion. The deal, which could be announced as early as this week, would create a huge competitor in the software industry -- a one-stop shop for products to fight a wide range of threats to personal computers and corporate networks, The New York Times reported Tuesday. If successfully completed, it would represent one of the largest software mergers. Negotiations have gone on for more than a month and are almost complete, executives said. The exact terms of the deal are not yet clear. Veritas is based in Mountain View, Calif. According to IDC, the company has 40% of the market for backup and archiving software, compared with Computer Associates' 19% and EMC's 12%. In the market for file system software, which stores and organizes data files, Veritas is the market leader by an even wider margin, with a 60% share. Last year, Veritas had revenue of $1.75 billion. It operates in about 40 countries and employs roughly 6,700 people.

3Com acquiring TippingPoint
Marlborough, Mass.-based 3Com Corp. has signed a deal to acquire TippingPoint Technologies, Inc. of Austin, Texas. 3Com said in a statement the move will enable it to offer customers "access to one of the industry's most compelling secure, converged voice and data networking solutions portfolio, leveraging TippingPoint's award-winning IPS solutions." The company added that TippingPoint customers will benefit from 3Com's global reach and infrastructure, while continuing to experience TippingPoint's high-touch security expertise. Under the terms of the agreement, 3Com will pay $47 cash per outstanding share of TippingPoint stock, which represents a 13% premium over the closing price on Dec. 10. The total purchase price will be about $430 million including acquisition costs and assumed options using the treasury method. "The acquisition is subject to various standard closing conditions, including regulatory approval and approval by TippingPoint stockholders, and is expected to close in the third quarter of 3Com's fiscal 2005," 3Com said. "Upon approval, TippingPoint will operate as a division of 3Com with TippingPoint CEO Kip McClanahan assuming the role of division president, reporting directly to 3Com CEO Bruce Claflin."

November a record month for spam
FrontBridge Technologies Inc. of Marina Del Rey, Calif., said spam volumes topped 93% in November, a record high since it started recording business e-mail spam volumes four years ago. The company's spam and virus analytics team predicts more of the same through the holidays and into the New Year. During Thanksgiving week FrontBridge said it filtered more than 704 million spam messages from the e-mail boxes of its 3,500 enterprise customers, with a heavy concentration of e-mail in the days leading up to the holiday. In the same period last year, FrontBridge blocked 94 million spam messages. "This year's unprecedented 704 million spam messages during the week of Thanksgiving marks a whopping 649% year-over-year increase," the company said in a statement. "Much of the spam this holiday season has consisted of phishing e-mails and scam-oriented e-mail aimed at defrauding users of private information by assuming the identity of legitimate organizations, such as banks, e-commerce sites and government agencies."

AV firm warns of Zafi-D threat
Glendale, Calif.-based PandaLabs said a new member of the Zafi family is on the loose. The W32.Zafi-D worm travels by e-mail, sitting in attached files. "The name of the file and the subjects are about Christmas. We are still working on the information," the firm said in a statement. "It copies itself as %windir%Norton Update.exe. It looks for folder[s] with the name share, upload or music to copy itself as winamp 5.7 new!.exe and ICQ 2005a new!.exe. If you do not run that file, you don't become infected." The firm called the worm a medium risk.

Sophos: Don't fret over Cabir
Lynnfield, Mass.-based antivirus firm Sophos said people shouldn't fret over the discovery of three new Cabir worm variants, which target mobile phones. The new versions of the virus have been made available for download on a Malaysian Web site dedicated to sharing mobile phone applications. The worms attempt to spread through Bluetooth to other compatible mobile smartphones in their vicinity, but recipients have to confirm they wish to receive the worm before it can infect them, Sophos said. "Although malware written specifically for mobiles tends to make the headlines, it hasn't so far resulted in any outbreaks," Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, said in a statement. "Users should not be fooled into thinking the virus writers are focusing their attention away from the main battelfield - regular Windows-based desktop PCs." Sophos issued detection of the Symb.Cabir-C, Symb.Cabir-D and Symb.Cabir-E worms Dec. 10.

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