Security

With Acquisition Websense to Silence Comment Spam

Web security vendor Websense has acquired Defensio, a provider of Web services used to delete comment spam off of blogs and Web sites.

Websense bought the tiny Montreal-based company to bolster its ThreatSeeker Network, which keeps tracks of Web attacks for corporate users, but the Defensio technology is also being extended into a new line of Web services that will help Web site operators lock down their sites, according to Dan Hubbard, Websense's chief technology officer.

Using its current Websense analysis software, the company could create new services to, for example, alert customers when material that shouldn't be posted to the Web appears on their Web sites, Hubbard said.

Websense hopes to be able to talk more about its move into selling security services for Web site operators around the time of the RSA Conference this April, Hubbard said. For the next six months, however, Defensio will be available to anyone who wants to use it, free of charge.

Defensio plug-ins can be used on a dozen blogging platforms to get rid of machine-generated comment spam, which is designed to fill up the comment sections of Web sites with commercial messages or, worse, links to malicious Web sites. On Monday, Websense reported that comment spammers were adding links to Trojan horse programs on Barack Obama's Web site and then linking to those malicious links using comment spam. That information came from Defensio's network of about 10,000 blogs, Hubbard said.

Defensio is owned by a parent company, Karabunga, which was quietly bought by Websense late last month. The company employs just a handful of people, but it is one of a very small number of businesses working on the products that stop the comment spam problem.

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