Palo Alto Networks buys endpoint security software maker Cyvera for $200M

Palo Alto Networks, known for its next-generation firewall, Monday said it is buying Israeli start-up Cyvera for about $200 million to gain access to its endpoint security product for real-time attack prevention. The deal is expected to close in a few weeks.

Palo Alto CTO Nir Zuk says Cyvera has devised malware and threat detection software that is effective in preventing attacks. After Palo Alto completes the acquisition, that software will be offered to Palo Alto customers re-branded under a new name.

Palo Alto also recently acquired another stealthy start-up, Morta Security, about which it hasn't said much. But today Zuk did dislose that Morta gives Palo Alto a networking monitoring and detection capability for blocking attacks. The goal at Palo Alto will be to integrate these newer technologies and to unite them under a common management framework.

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Cyvera's endpoint software works by recognizing that a desktop or mobile device has started a process that "it shouldn't be doing" and stop it, says Zuk. This could be something as simple as a PowerPoint file behaving in a manner that indicates a criminal has fabricated it as an attack weapon.

Zuk says Cyvera devised its analysis system by looking at the attack toolkits used today. There are really only about 20 fundamental types out there, Zuk says, such as those related to buffer overflow or code injection. "We believe the endpoint is an integral part of an enterprise security platform," Zuk says.

The challenge for Palo Alto will be uniting what it has today with its next-generation firewall and its sandboxing technology for malware detection to work in unison with the newer capabilities in endpoint security and threat monitoring provided under the Cyvera and Morta acquisitions. The first job will be a common management framework, about which Palo Alto will say more about later this year.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail:

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