FireEye-Mandiant merger signals shift of US companies regarding NSA surveillance and hacking attacks

January 3
9:45 AM 2014

According to a New York Times report, the combination of security software provider FireEye and computer network breaches response services provider Mandiant was a clear indication on how corporate America has increased its level of awareness with regard to the security of its corporate computer systems. Both companies have already shared a special relationship prior to the merger, as FireEye relies on Mandiant's services whenever the former founds malware in their systems.

Mandiant founder and new chief operating officer of the combined company Kevin Mandia said, "After the Snowden events, in the current political climate, no one can say to the government, ‘Please, come on in and monitor our networks.'"

The revelations of former National Security Agency contractor had increased the wariness of US companies in relying on the federal government to warn them of incoming attacks and monitoring the Internet. The documents that Snowden illegally had taken from his former employer revealed that the country was monitoring adversaries as well as allies, and surveillance also included the networks of some Web companies. The Times said some of the US firms could turn to Mandiant and FireEye for protection, which was interesting since several employees of Mandiant came from the US intelligence world.

FireEye's software sorts incoming traffic in several receptacles and goes over for suspicious activity before letting the traffic through. Mandiant is a popular security emergency response company of which its teams root out attackes who have placed unwanted software in their clients' computer systems. Mandiant's work was focused on attackers from China, and had provided a strong proof that hackers known as "Comment Crew" are related to a People's Liberation Army unit outside of Shanghai.

Mandiant's backers included venture capital firm and JPMorgan Chase investment arm One Equity Partners, of which both have raised $70 million for the company. On the other hand, FireEye's clients include 40 state military operations all over the world.

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