Palo Alto Networks Acquires Start-Up Morta Security

New York Times writer NICOLE PERLROTH wrote a article about the recent announcement by Palo Alto acquiring Morta Security. The original post can be found HERE. It is interesting to see both Palo Alto and FireEye invest in security forensic technology. Here is Perlroth’s write up on the event.  

Palo Alto Networks has acquired Morta Security, a two-year-old Silicon Valley security start-up run by former employees of the National Security Agency and the United States Air Force.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, though the deal marks the first acquisition of a company by Palo Alto Networks, a security company that went public in 2012 and has seen its shares jump more than 20 percent over the last year.

The union is the second big acquisition of a security start-up in recent weeks. On Dec. 30, FireEye, a Palo Alto Networks competitor that uses software for cyberattack detection, spent more than $1 billion to acquire Mandiant, a company that sends in teams to help companies recover from hacking and defend against future attacks.

The acquisitions point to a greater recognition within the tech security market that there is no such thing as a silver bullet. Chief security officers say the old antivirus products no longer suffice and organizations now require a broad range of security products and services to confront increasingly sophisticated attacks.

The research company Risk Based Security called 2012 a record year for security breaches, with the number of invasions more than doubling from 2011. Analysts expect that 2013 will be  another banner year once recent breaches at Target and Snapchat have been tallied.

Morta Security tackles the most advanced security threats. Those threats, known within the security industry as advanced persistent threats, can refer to nation-state sponsored cyberattacks against companies or government agencies, or persistent efforts by criminals to gain access to a high value target, like Target’s cash registers.

What they have in common is that traditional antivirus products often fail to detect them.

Morta Security’s exclusive focus on those threats attracted the attention of venture capitalists, notably Greylock Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz, which will all profit from Morta’s sale to Palo Alto Networks, though neither the buyer or the seller will say how much.

“In joining forces, we think we can reach a broader range of customers that we could have on our own,” Raj Shah, Morta’s co-founder and chief executive, said in an interview Monday morning. Mr. Shah will work at Palo Alto Networks as a director for marketing focused on advanced threats.

“We believe the antivirus market is hopelessly behind in being able to address the most acute problems,” said Nir Zuk, the founder of Palo Alto Networks. “That is not where the action is and that is not where the majority of the money is going to be.”

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