IBM to Acquire Financial Malware Defense Firm Trusteer

"Today we are pleased to announce," wrote Brendan Hannigan, general manager of IBM security systems this morning, "that IBM has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Trusteer, a leader in advanced fraud and malware defense."

Trusteer has grown largely organically over the last few years. "Seven of the ten top U.S. banks and nine of the top ten U.K. banks use Trusteer’s solutions to better secure customer accounts against financial fraud and cyber attacks," says IBM's official announcement. According to TechCrunch, "Calcalist reports that at the current rate of growth — adding some 25 enterprises each month at the moment — Trusteer projects that it will have 700 customers in two years’ time."

Trusteer has an unusual business model in anti-malware for end-users. End-users are notoriously reluctant to buy security software, resulting in many anti-virus companies offering free AV for consumers. Trusteer's model is to sell its software to the banks, and allow them to offer it free to the banks' users. It would seem to have worked since the acquisition by IBM is the largest ever acquisition in Israel – for a company that has only taken $10 million in investment.

The combination of IBM's strength in services to the finance industry and Trusteer's penetration of the banking market adds synergy to both organizations. IBM intends to establish a cybersecurity software lab in Israel employing more than 200 Trusteer and IBM researchers and developers.

Mickey Boodaei, CEO and one of the co-founders of Trusteer, said, "As attacks become more sophisticated, traditional approaches to securing enterprise and mobile data are no longer valid. Trusteer has helped hundreds of large banks and organizations around the world defeat thousands of sophisticated attacks using innovative solutions that combine intelligence, cloud, mobile, and desktop technologies.”

“Trusteer’s expertise and superior technology in enterprise endpoint defense and advanced malware prevention," said Hannigan, "will help our clients across all industries address the constantly evolving threats they are facing. Together with IBM’s capabilities in advanced threat detection, analysis and remediation, we will now be able to offer our clients several additional layers of defense against sophisticated attackers.”

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