AOL Launches a New Security Suite
America Online has launched a new security suite to help its members protect themselves from viruses, spyware, phishing attacks, and identity theft. The new suite, AOL Safety and Security Center, uses McAfee for its antivirus and firewall. AOL's Spyware Protection 2.0 solution (powered by Computer Associates), powers its spyware protection. The suite will include a set of automated online safety tools, including antivirus, spyware and phishing protection, and a firewall. Security features are automatically updated to help protect members, in particular those using always-on broadband connections.
"A broadband connection is basically an open pipe to the Internet, which means that high-speed users are particularly vulnerable to thousands of new viruses and spyware threats as they emerge," said Joe Redling, president, AOL Access Business, in a written statement. The AOL Safety and Security Center also will give members free access to other safety and security features, including spam settings, parental control, pop-up controls, money alerts, and computer checkups.
With the holiday season quickly approaching and consumers taking advantage of shopping via the Web, the ability of online consumers to protect their PCs from attack is more important than ever. Natalie Lambert, analyst for Forrester, says AOL's combination of McAfee and CA makes the AOL Safety and Security Center a solid solution. "McAfee and CA are both great products," she says. "The fact [AOL's] giving this away as part of their online package is a great service to their customers."
Spyware should be consumers' primary concern, Lambert says. "Hackers aren't creating as many viruses as they use to. They're really moving to the spyware component, because there is a lot of money behind it. They're financially backed to create spyware as opposed to creating viruses."
As for the market, Lambert says it will be interesting to see Microsoft's reaction now that AOL members don't need to worry about purchasing security software when they can simply download it over the Internet. "By giving this away AOL is really putting the pressure on Microsoft now that they're beginning to enter the consumer market," she says. "It will be a fun challenge for Microsoft to enter this market with these partnerships and solutions already in place."
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