Websense Acquires Defensio and Their Anti-Spam API

Kevin Farnham, January 29th, 2009

Web security vendor Websense has announced that it has acquired Defensio, the anti-comment-spam service. Last fall we wrote about Defensio and its API and how it lets developers submit text snippets, such as comments from blogs and forums, to have them analyzed to get an indication of the likelihood that the text is spam. In the announcement, Websense notes these capabilities:

The acquisition immediately extends the content identification and classification capabilities of the Websense ThreatSeeker Network by providing visibility into spam posted as comments to social Web sites, including blogs, user forums and social networking sites. Websense will also enhance Defensio Web services so third-party Web 2.0 developers can embed Websense content classification intelligence into their applications.

Robert McMillan noted, in his IDG News Service post, that for the next six months, Defensio will be available to anyone who wants to use it, free of charge.

Carl Mercier, writing on the Defensio blog, reassured current Defensio users, and noted additional benefits from the acquisition:

You can take comfort in knowing that that we currently have no plans to change the existing service — so just go ahead, keep using Defensio and keep spreading the good word. It is definitely here to stay and will remain free for personal bloggers.

Websense has developed some revolutionary technology that we will be able to leverage in the very near future. This means more effective spam filtering for you and some headaches for the bad guys.

In the official announcement, Carl noted the benefits of Defensio’s API approach:

Imagine if Web 2.0 developers could access an API so their applications could determine if user-generated content is malicious or unwanted — without having to embed anything in their applications or products. We see strong potential to partner with social networking platforms, enterprises and hosting providers to enable advanced Web 2.0 security with the Defensio solution.

The merger seems to make sense. TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld notes that Websense recently used Defensio technology to detect malicious hackers on BarackObama.com. So, the companies were working together prior to the actual acquisition.

Defensio offers plugins for a number of popular blogging and social applications including WordPress. See our Defensio API profile for more details on the their web service.

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