According to a The New York Times story by Nicole Perlroth and David E. Sanger, the FireEye-Mandiant deal in cash and stock is worth more than a billion dollars. That’s in a global computer security market estimated at approximately $67 billion. The Times noted that the acquisition could create a “formidable competitor to antivirus giants like Symantec and Intel’s McAfee.”
Recently, Mandiant focused on attacks from China. Perlroth and Sanger observed that last year the company made headlines with “a detailed study of a hacking group known as ‘Comment Crew’ that provided the strongest evidence yet that the hackers were closely linked to a unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army, outside Shanghai.”
Unless you’ve been in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison the last six months or forced to watch every episode of Breaking Bad, Lost, The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Upstairs/Downstairs, NCIS, Sopranos and Three Stooges marathons back-to-back and end-to-end, you had to have heard the revelations about the US monitoring (or spying on) allies, adversaries, international organizations and some Internet companies. (Editorial note: Though Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson somewhat naively stated that “gentlemen don’t read other gentlemen’s mail,” it appears gentlemen do. “Spying on your allies has long been a staple of international diplomacy — dating back to the first embassies established by 16th century Italian city-states, where cryptanalysts would slice open the wax seals of intercepted, coded messages with hot knives before deciphering them.” –theatlantic.com). Perlroth and Sanger write that organizations that believe they’re being spied on by their own government might turn “to companies like FireEye and Mandiant for protection, an interesting twist since many of Mandiant’s employees come from the American intelligence world.”
“After the Snowden events, in the current political climate, no one can say to the government, ‘Please, come on in and monitor our networks,’ ” said Kevin Mandia, the founder of Mandiant who will become chief operating officer of the combined company.
According to The Times story, “FireEye’s software isolates incoming traffic in virtual containers and looks for suspicious activity….” When malware was found, FireEye would tap Mandiant to come up with countermeasures.
At the same time FireEye announced the Mandiant acquisition, it also announced that it had exceeded its fourth-quarter revenue guidance.