August 15, 2013 5:55 pm

IBM buys Israeli cyber security company Trusteer

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IBM is buying Trusteer, a private Israeli cloud-based cyber security software provider that counts many of the largest US and UK banks among its customers.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but IBM, which will form a cyber security software lab in Israel with more than 200 researchers from both companies as part of the deal, is reported to be paying between $800m and $1bn for Trusteer.

The acquisition marks a further push by IBM, which acquired Q1 Labs, a Massachusetts-based provider of security intelligence software in late 2011, to extend its portfolio of cloud-based security offerings.

Companies, particularly those in the financial services industry, face a continuing battle against cyber-based fraud and attacks. Enterprise software and hardware suppliers have responded by expanding their security capabilities. Last month, for example, Cisco agreed to buy Sourcefire for $2.7bn.

Seven of the top 10 US banks and nine of the top 10 UK banks use Trusteer’s software to help prevent cyber attacks and fraud. The Israeli company claims its software can identify security threats that can be missed by traditional security software.

For example, to help ensure that banking customers can safely transfer money on a mobile device, Trusteer software tries to detect malware that can infect a smartphone, enabling the bank to take steps to prevent fraudulent behaviour before the transaction occurs.

Of the top 25 US financial institutions, about half are offering mobile person-to-person fund transfers and mobile remote deposit capabilities, a figure that has more than doubled since 2011. This increased use makes mobile banking a prime target for account takeover attacks that are launched using stolen credentials.

“The way organisations protect data are quickly evolving,” said Mickey Boodaei, Trusteer’s chief executive. “As attacks become more sophisticated, traditional approaches to securing enterprise and mobile data are no longer valid.”

Trusteer was founded in 2006 by Mr Boodaei with backing from US Venture Partners and Shlomo Kramer, and has offices located in Boston, Massachusetts and Tel Aviv. Its revenues in 2012 were about $40m.

UBS was the sole adviser to Trusteer on the transaction.

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