HijackThis acquired by Trend Micro

Trend Micro, one of the leading antivirus and security software companies, acquired HijackThis, probably the most popular tool used in threat analytics and malware removal. The company plans to announce their acquisition on Monday, March 19. However, a new version of HijackThis (2.00 beta) made by Trend Micro is already available for download.

According to Merijn Bellekom, the HijackThis author, the program will remain being free of charge. However, Trend Micro will not provide official support for it.

Speaking about the new features, we won’t see a lot of them. The new version will incorporate mostly fixes and minor updates. The only noticeable difference will be the addition of the Analyze This button, which will send the log to Trend Micro and show a summary on log items. As for today, Trend Micro does not offer any HijackThis log analyzer. Only statistics on how often specific items are seen in other logs are provided.

The news about acquisition was supposed to be secret. However, as some web sites began offering a beta version of HijackThis 2.00 for download, people were wondering whether this is really a new version of HijackThis, or something completely different exploiting the name of the popular tool. Speculations have been stopped by Merijn’s explanation posted two days ago:

As some of you might have seen several IT news websites are offering Trend Micro HijackThis 2.00 beta. An official statement will be posted on their website soon, but since this is a public beta of theirs I figured it’d be best if I answered the question I’m going to get asked a lot, right now.
This is not fake, I sold HijackThis to TrendMicro. Their product incorporates all changes, updates and fixes that I was planning on adding in the v1.99.2 release. I made sure of that and I hope no one will be disappointed with it.

He also explains the reason why he sold the program:

I sold HijackThis because I had been sitting on an unfinished update for over a year and I still could not make enough time to finish it. My uni classes are taking up a lot of time and I want to set my goals a bit wider than just the antispyware business (though I still love it). Sitting on an unfinished product until it becomes obsolete is not useful, so I decided to transfer the responsibility to TrendMicro (who have also taken care of my CWShredder) so they can give it proper attention and support.

Speaking about log analysis, nothing has changed at all. Security forums from all over the world still accept HJT logs. The HijackThis Log Analysis section on our forum is not an exception. You can also submit your logs to the automatic HijackThis Log Analyzer, so you don’t have to wait until forum responders reply to your posts.

Please keep in mind that at the moment we accept HijackThis 1.99.1 logs only. We don’t analyze logs generated by prior HJT versions and Trend Micro’s public beta of HJT 2.00. We will accept 2.00 logs right after the final version will be released.