July 13, 2005 9:00 PM PDT

VeriSign buys iDefense for $40 million

VeriSign said Wednesday that it has acquired security intelligence specialist iDefense for about $40 million in cash, a move intended to boost its security services offerings.

The acquisition gives VeriSign the ability to better protect its about 1,000 managed security services customers, said Chris Babel, a general manager and vice president at the company. "Customers were looking for more proactive security protection."

Reston, Va.-based iDefense provides its customers information on security flaws and exploits by closely following the hacker community. The company also enlists the services of security researchers to identify flaws in software products. It then alerts the vendors and provides customers with protection information.

VeriSign of Mountain View, Calif., will offer the iDefense services to its managed-security customers. These organizations have hired VeriSign to manage their network security systems, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems. The iDefense services will also continue to be sold separately, a VeriSign representative said.

iDefense expects its research will benefit from the real-time data on Internet attacks that VeriSign can provide through its managed security services, said John Watters, chairman and CEO of iDefense. The researchers previously did not have access to such extensive data from customer networks, he said.

The acquisition is the latest example of consolidation in the security industry. Several of VeriSign's rivals in the space have been active with mergers and acquisitions over the past year, including Symantec and Cybertrust. Other players include Internet Security Systems and Counterpane.

iDefense has 45 employees. All join VeriSign, and Watters will continue to head the group, a company representative said. There will be no change in service to the about 50 current iDefense customers, he said.

 

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