ThreatMetrix Buys TrustDefender to Add Device Integrity Tools to Products

ThreatMetrix has acquired TrustDefender in order to integrate anti-malware capabilities to its advanced device-identification portfolio.

ThreatMetrix acquired Australian company TrustDefender to add malware protection and secure browsing to its portfolio of secure device-identification products.

The combined companies will operate under the ThreatMetrix name and have operations in the United States, Australia and Europe, ThreatMetrix officials said Jan. 10. However, ThreatMetrix has adopted the TrustDefender name for all the products in its existing portfolio, including TrustDefender ID, TrustDefender Cloud and TrustDefender Client, Reed Taussig, president and CEO of ThreatMetrix, told eWEEK.

ThreatMetrix has already closed the deal with a combination of cash and stock, although it didn't disclose the financial terms. The corporate headquarters of the combined companies will be in San Jose, Calif., Taussig said. Andreas Baumhof, co-founder and CEO of TrustDefender, will join ThreatMetrix as CTO.

"The natural synergies between device identification and secure browsing are very obvious," Taussig said.

With the acquisition, ThreatMetrix can now offer an integrated fraud-protection product that can verify the identity of a device trying to access secure data and also to check the integrity of that device. If it has been compromised, either by malware or identity theft, the ThreatMetrix platform can deny access.

ThreatMetrix's system examines more than 250 aspects of a device to determine its integrity, such as the language used to display content, any hidden proxies and other historical usage data. TrustDefender's products detect malware, such as Trojans and other threats, such as man-in-the-browser-attacks.

TrustDefender's Baumhof said there had been a "huge increase" in sophisticated man-in-the-browser Trojan attacks that launched fraudulent transactions using stolen identities.

Device identification and malware protection should actually be treated as "birds of a feather," and combined, Taussig said. Prior to the acquisition, ThreatMetrix had advanced device-identification capabilities that could detect whether the transaction being conducted on the device was from a legitimate user or fraudulent, Taussig said. But these products couldn't tell if there was malware on the device, he said. TrustDefender can tell there was malware on the device, but couldn't detect whether its integrity had been compromised in some other way, he said.

"Why would you buy device identification without malware protection, or malware protection without device identification?" Taussig said. He added that up until now, that was exactly what organizations had been forced to do. Then, they had to integrate products from different vendors on their own to get broader protection.

It became increasingly clear from speaking with customers that successful transaction profiling required both sophisticated malware detection and intelligent-device identification to determine if the device is compromised or if the transaction is at risk of being fraudulent, said Taussig. With the acquisition, ThreatMetrix could now offer customers a single product that could do both tasks, he said.

Malware protection and fraud prevention are closely related, but historically have used different methods to protect data, Taussig said. However, as more and more data leaves the enterprise and is stored on mobile devices and cloud servers, IT professionals are losing control over the data. The authentication and security measures being used by the anti-fraud specialists become useful since the data is outside the firewall, according to Taussig.