Sophos tool takes aim at unwanted applications

Sophos has announced it has added an application-control feature to its antivirus product that blocks the use of unauthorized VOIP, peer-to-peer and instant messaging applications on Windows desktops.

The feature is an upgrade to Sophos Anti-Virus 6, an endpoint security product that blocks or monitors the use of certain applications on corporate networks.

"Clearly, enterprises want to stop employees from running unauthorized programs that eat up bandwidth, violate security policies or result in data leakage," says Steve Munford, CEO at Sophos.

"We're using our fingerprinting technologies and our knowledge from the antivirus realm and applying it to applications for VOIP, IM and P2P to identify and block them," said Ron O'Brien, senior security analyst at Sophos. "We call these potentially unwanted applications."

Expanding beyond antivirus products to desktop application control puts Sophos in competition with such vendors as Altiris, LANDesk and Microsoft. The Sophos application-management feature can be managed from the same console used for Sophos Anti-Virus, according to O'Brien.

Sophos Anti-Virus 6.0, which includes Sophos Endpoint Security and a desktop firewall, costs about US$24 per desktop, per year for 1,000 to 2,000 users.

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