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Freegate is not Trojan horse, says Symantec

Relabels China censor-busting utility

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Symantec is to stop classifying a software utility that enables Chinese surfers to view blocked websites as a Trojan horse.

The reassessment follows stories earlier this week questioning the designation of the widely-used Freegate programas malicious code. Freegate has 200,000 users, Dynamic Internet Technology (DIT), its developer, estimates. The software lets users view sites banned by the Chinese government by taking advantage of a range of proxy servers assigned to changeable internet addresses. Symantec mislabelled this behaviour as that of malicious code and wrongly-labelled Freegate as malign.

In a statement today, Symantec said: "A number of our customers drew our attention to what they deemed the suspicious nature of the Freegate software. Upon investigation by our researchers, similarities were noted between how the software operated and how various Trojan horses operated, based on the use of open proxies to penetrate firewalls used to block web sites. As a result, it was deemed a cyber threat and blocked by our software. Since that time, further investigation indicates that Freegate is in fact not a Trojan horse and detection for this program has therefore been removed from Symantec’s virus definitions."

The change in policy means Freegate users will once again be able to use the software on systems protected by Symantec's Norton AV security software. Which is nice. ®

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