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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

McAfee.com Corp yesterday said the latest release of its Personal Firewall applications feature options for blocking outbound traffic for the first time, addressing concerns du jour about spyware and hybrid viruses.

The software, aimed largely at broadband users not on firewall-protected company networks, allows users to create local white-lists of applications that are allowed to talk to networked computers. Every time an application attempts to connect to the internet, the user is prompted to block it or allow the connection.

"With the line blurring between hacker and virus techniques and methods, it is important to enhance our services to meet these new hybrid threats head on," said McAfee.com VP of worldwide marketing Atri Chatterjee. Trojan programs such as SirCam and SubSeven have recently caused concern, as has the increase in so-called "spyware".

But a company spokesperson admitted the software is unable to selectively block what data an application sends. If a legitimate, useful application that needs to connect to the net to run (an email client, for example) was white-listed, it would not be blocked even if it contained "spyware" components that sent private data back to the maker.

The convergence of security threats is reflected to an extent in McAfee.com's own products. The company recently released its free SecurityCenter client, which provides a threat assessment console that can be used as a front-end to McAfee.com's full range of desktop security products.

© ComputerWire

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