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by John E Dunn

Commtouch buys cult Icelandic antivirus firm Frisk Software

Aug 02, 20122 mins
Consumer ElectronicsData and Information SecuritySecurity

Heuristic pioneer FriAdegrik SkAolason sells to partner

Small but legendary Icelandic antivirus company Frisk Software has agreed to be acquired by one of the main customers for its security engine, Commtouch.

Now better known through its F-Prot brand, Frisk’s fame rests on the reputation of its founder and CTO, Fririk Sklason, and the sheer length of time it has been in the business.

Its first antivirus programme dates back to 1989, the long-gone and quaint early era of early malware when everyone involved in the antivirus business knew one another by name.

Nowadays, although it sells its own home and business antivirus programmes, its main revenue is in licensing the core detection engine to other security vendors, including Commtouch itself.

Skulason is renowned as a pioneer of the heuristic detection (i.e. spotting malware according its behaviour rather than through a digital signature) that was once one of his software’s main USPs. This principle is now used by all antivirus software, albeit in much updated forms.

“I am excited to combine the antivirus expertise of Commtouch and Frisk,” said Sklason. “By fully harnessing the resources of both organisations, our teams will be able to make even more significant headway in antivirus technology, particularly in heuristic detection.”

“Because Frisk’s technology is an important part of the Commtouch solution, the integration of Frisk’s team will have a dramatic impact. We plan to release version 7 of F-Prot shortly after the acquisition closes,”commented Commtouch CEO, Shlomi Yanai.

The financial terms of the deal have not been announced.