[ISN] Symantec to buy three security firms

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Jul 18 2002 - 05:15:46 PDT

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    [Several ISN readers sent word of the $355 million Symantec buying
    spree, and you start to wonder how much more $$$ Symantec has sitting
    in the petty cash box for future acquisitions and whose next? Other
    questions come to mind, since Symantec has a track record of
    overhyping virus warnings, who isn't to say that the same won't become
    the norm with security holes? also troubling me is that Symantec being
    the large one-stop security group it is now, might hold onto security
    vulerabilties of Symantec products. Lastly, if some of these fears
    become reality, you have to wonder if there's going to be a new
    independent mailing list for security vulnerabilities. ;)  - WK]
    By Ellen Messmer
    Network World Fusion, 07/17/02
    Symantec said it has entered into deals to acquire three security
    firms - Recourse Technologies, Riptech and SecurityFocus - for a total
    of $355 million in cash. Symantec also announced record quarterly
    revenues of $316 million, up 39% from the same quarter last year.
    In a conference call with analysts, Symantec CEO John Thompson
    expressed strong satisfaction with the revenue performance of
    Symantec's consumer and enterprise security divisions overall,
    especially in sales of antivirus products and Symantec's firewall/VPNs
    across global markets that include the U.S., Europe, Canada, Japan and
    Latin America.
    The "one disappointment," said Thompson, has been in Symantec's
    network-based intrusion-detection system (IDS) product, NetProwler.  
    Symantec intends to purchase Recourse Technologies primarily to gain
    its network-based ManHunt product. Recourse also makes the ManTrap
    "honeypot" product to monitor suspected attackers.
    "ManHunt is not just stronger than what we had, but [also] what our
    competitors had" in network-based IDS, Thompson said. The $135 million
    Recourse acquisition, subject to regulatory approval, affects
    Symantec's stated plans to offer an IDS appliance based on NetProwler.  
    However, Thompson said Symantec will continue to offer its host-based
    IDS called Intruder Alert.
    Recourse's gigabit-speed ManHunt IDS sensors, which incorporate an
    anomaly-detection technology not dependent on signature updates, are
    used by 150 customers, including the U.S. Department of Energy and
    Ingram-Micro, said Thompson.
    Symantec decided to spend $145 million to purchase Riptech, which
    provides managed security through its security operations center in
    suburban Virginia, due to its so-called Calterian monitoring
    technology and its customer base of 500 customers in 40 countries.
    Symantec, which operates its own managed security services center in
    San Antonio with plans to expand centers in England and Germany, will
    have to find a way to gracefully mesh the technologies and
    administration of both the Symantec and Riptech operations centers,
    Thompson said.
    SecurityFocus, which Symantec intends to buy for $75 million, provides
    in-depth security alerts and consulting. SecurityFocus collects
    information from 14,000 IDS devices around the world.
    The main challenge ahead for Symantec, pending the customary
    government approval of the three acquisitions, will be in successfully
    integrating the new technologies into Symantec's product line and
    services, Thompson acknowledged.
    In the analyst teleconference, Thompson did not mention personnel
    layoffs associated with any of the acquisitions, but he added Symantec
    would be "wringing out redundancies" brought about by buying the three
    The acquisitions of Riptech, Recourse and SecurityFocus all come on
    the heels of another important purchase just weeks ago by Symantec of
    a company called Mountain Wave. Symantec bought Mountain Wave for its
    CyberWolf technology. This technology enables what's called "security
    information management" by collecting the output of multiple security
    devices to provide a comprehensive view of security status across an
    All together, Symantec is buying its way into the core technologies
    that will be integrated into future products that Symantec will have
    more to say about in the future, Thompson said.
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