Trend Micro & Software Patents
So it seems that Trend Micro is trying to push themselves around on other antivirus products with a patent that they have on performing antivirus detection on SMTP and FTP gateways. Some commercial vendors have already settled with them over this, however Trend Micro are now suing Barracuda for their use and distrribution of ClamAV. ClamAV is an open source product, which Trend Micro feels infringes upon their patent. A few links on the subject, then I’ll move on to my personal Trend Micro story:
- A good summary of the situation on linux.com
- Scriptum libre’s call for a boycott
- Patent 5623600 – Virus detection and removal apparatus for computer networks
In my opinion, whatever the open source community decides to do with Trend Micro at this point is fine by me. I started my personal boycott of Trend Micro just under a year and a half ago. Why, you might be asking? Story time…
The Tale of the Trend Micro Lunchless Lunch-and-Learn (or why I will never purchase or recommend a Trend Micro product)
A colleague and I attended SANS Network Security in October of 2006, for the purpose of attending Ed Skoudis’ excellent “Hacker Techniques and Incident Handling Class”, leading up to the GCIH exam. At these larger SANS conferences there is a vendor expo with booths, and also “Lunch and Learn” events throughout the week that vendors take care of. These events are win-win. The vendors get a captive audience for a presentation, and the attendees get a free, and very convenient lunch. Especially at events like NS in Vegas, it can be very difficult to leave the event, eat lunch, and get back in time for class, so the “Lunch and Learns” are very nice.
At the vendor expo, Trend Micro had a booth with a computer running an IRC client, and a setup where they were replaying a packet dump of a carding-oriented IRC channel. Having investigated incidents that involve these channels in the past, I made attempts to discuss the nature of carder/info trading channels with the Trend Micro representative, however he was very reluctant to talk to me (even though there was no one else around). He stated that if we wanted to know more, we could attend his presentation later in the week. I should have known at this point that this guy wasn’t worth the time and forgotten about the whole thing.
On Friday of that week, we left class to attend the talk, and let me tell you it was a train wreck. What many attendees will remember about it was that there was no Lunch, an important aspect of a talk billed as a “Lunch and Learn”. This is bad enough, with 150 or so attendees being unable to get lunch before their training began again (once the presentation got started, it was already too late to feasibly leave and eat lunch).
What was worse was the quality of the presentation. The representative was not a very good presenter, and had no sense of time or pacing. To our astonishment, the slides used had IRC logs similar to those that were scrolling by on the screen at the vendor expo, and these logs contained personal information being traded about the victims of credit card fraud, uncensored. It seems like the least they could have done was attempt to prevent the further spread of data like this.
When the presentation was over (and it ran over-time by a significant amount), a SANS representative informed the audience that Trend Micro was going to “make up” for the lack of lunch, which the presenter seemed very upset about. Later, we were all given gift-cards good for the restaurants in the hotel, with enough money on them to cover a buffet dinner that night, which at least helped after having not eaten that day.
There was, however, never an apology about this from Trend Micro. When I emailed Trend Micro to inform them of how unprofessional their chosen representative was, and how poorly they were represented, I never received a response. It seems to me that they are fine with what has happened regarding this, and not eager to present themselves well to others in the computer security community.
And for that, I completely support this boycott, as I have since long before it started.