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immunetCloud antivirus solutions, which tap web-based computing resources, are becoming more popular as security firms seek better ways to protect consumers from malware attacks.

That’s evident in the funding announced today by Immunet, a cloud antivirus startup that has raised $2 million in funding from Altos Ventures and TechOperators. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Immunet launched its first product, Immunet Protect, in August. The product harnesses the growing power of sharing networks to create a community of people who can collectively improve each other’s security.

Upon installing Immunet Protect, users immediately become protected members within the “Immunet Community,” which is now 20,000 users strong. The community leverages the collective knowledge of threats and how dangerous each one of them is. It thus can bring the highest-level threats to a user’s attention more quickly than client-based antivirus solutions. Other companies are adopting this kind of approach as well.

The company was founded by Oliver Friedrichs, a former Symantec research executive. He left the big company in the summer of 2008 to found Immunet. He decided to address something that the big vendors hadn’t moved quickly enough to address: how to use the combination of cloud computing, collective intelligence and community-based trust networks to fight off the dramatic increase in malware threats.

The solution is clever. It leverages the idea of safety in numbers. Every time someone in the Immunet Protect network encounters a virus, the threat is identified, logged, and blocked on a centralized server platform. Instantaneously, because of the way Immunet works, everyone in the network can be protected from that identified virus.

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