Japan's Trend Micro Inc, the No 3 maker of computer security programs, introduced a new line of software on Tuesday that runs on home networking gear, protecting groups of PCs from viruses.
The company, which touted the product as the first of its type, is also getting ready to unveil software that protects USB flash drives from infection, said Trend Micro Vice President Carol Carpenter.
Trend Micro's new software for routers, dubbed Home Network Defender, will initially work on a few models from Cisco Systems Inc's Linksys division. New routers will be sold bundled with 30-day trial subscriptions to the service, while Linksys customers who have already bought those models can download trial software over the Internet.
Carpenter said her company is the first to sell consumer security software that runs on routers, instead of personal computers.
That approach allows the software to simultaneously protect multiple devices -- including video game consoles and phones, along with several PCs. It prevents users from accessing dangerous websites and allows parents to monitor their children's activities on the Web.
Trend introduced the software as it fights for market share with Symantec Corp and McAfee Inc, the world's two biggest makers of security software. Trial versions of security software from these two companies are pre-loaded on PCs sold by Hewlett-Packard Co, Dell Inc and other large PC makers.
PC makers charge the software companies for bundling those programs with their products, often signing exclusive deals with the highest bidder.
Carpenter said Trend has signed few deals with PC makers because the bidding process sometimes makes them too expensive.
Instead, Trend Micro has started developing products it can sell through new types of partnerships, such as the one with Cisco.
Each subscription to Home Network Defender, which sells for $60 a year, includes subscriptions for Trend's traditional PC anti-virus software for four machines.
The company also plans to package its PC software with its yet-to-be-unveiled security software for flash drives, which will come pre-installed on USB flash drives, Carpenter said.
She also said Trend will be unveiling a third key product for consumers around the time of its annual analyst meeting in June. She declined to elaborate.
(Editing by Andre Grenon)