Cyber Defense

Consolidation paces quickens in cyber defense market

Aiming to augment its virtualized platform for cyber defense with what it calls an "intelligence-led approach" to cyber security, FireEye Inc. said this week is has completed its acquisition of privately-held iSight Partners, a leading provider of cyber threat intelligence.

The acquisition announced Wednesday also combines the expertise of Mandiant, a unit of FireEye, with iSight's more than 250 cyber threat intelligence analysts stationed in 17 countries. Cyber security software provider FireEye, based in Milpitas, Calif., acquired Mandiant in January 2014 in a deal worth more than $1 billion. Mandiant, based in Reston, Va., made headlines in 2013 when it released a report uncovering a cyber espionage group linked to China's People's Liberation Army.

FireEye said it paid about $200 million in cash to acquire all outstanding shares of iSight. Former shareholders could gain an additional $75 million in cash and equity if the merged company hits its bookings target by 2018. FireEye's spending spree to acquire Mandiant and iSight underscores the growing strategic importance of cyber security to customers that increasingly handle sensitive and private data.

"The acquisition brings together two of the world's leading threat intelligence organizations, each with a different and complementary perspective on the threat environment," FireEye CEO David DeWalt said during a conference call with analysts announcing the deal. "It also represents a significant milestone in the development of our unified intelligence-powered threat management platform."

FireEye claims credit for inventing a virtual machine-based security platform to provide real-time threat updates to corporations and governments agencies. At the heart of the platform is a "virtual execution engine" that is combined with threat intelligence to identify and block cyber attacks as they unfold.

FireEye further claims its cyber defense platform outperforms traditional firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, anti-virus software and security gateways. It provides threat protection without the use of signature-based defenses widely used to thwart network attacks or vulnerability exploits. The company claims its approach also monitors different stages of ongoing cyber attacks.

The merged company combines machine and human intelligence to provide "actionable intelligence," DeWalt said.

FireEye claims more than 4,000 customers in 67 countries, including more than 650 global corporations.  

About the Author

George Leopold is a contributing editor for Defense Systems and author of Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom."Connect with him on Twitter at @gleopold1.

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