Google buys cybersecurity company Mandiant for $5.4 billion

Google has agreed to pay $5.4 billion to acquire Mandiant, one of the best-known investigators that tracks sophisticated cyber attacks, giving it a key position on the front lines of the battle against cybercrime and digital warfare.

The all-cash deal comes as the internet giant looks to boost its cloud computing business, Google Cloud, in a bid to catch up with Amazon and Microsoft, which offer cybersecurity products through their larger cloud platforms.

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said the deal came in response to the fact that “the complexity and severity of attacks previously used to target major governments are now being used to target businesses in every industry.”

Mandiant is one of the best known providers of threat intelligence, tracking the cyber campaigns of nation-state actors such as Russia, Iran, China and North Korea, as well as criminal groups – including ransomware gangs that over the past two years have unleashed millions of debilitating attacks on businesses and entities. governmental.

Its Incident Response Team is also called upon regularly to respond to high profile attacks and works closely with the United States government. Last year, it was drafted to help investigate a daring ransomware cartel hack into the Colonial pipeline, which led to gasoline shortages on America’s East Coast.

In 2020, the company first revealed the hacking of SolarWinds, a sophisticated electronic espionage campaign that US officials have attributed to Russia’s foreign intelligence service, after the same company was hacked by the same hackers.

The acquisition would allow Google to match the cyber capabilities of cloud-services rival Microsoft, which has long developed in-house expertise in threat intelligence but also last year acquired smaller cybersecurity firms, including RiskIQ and ReFirm Labs.

“Given Mandiant’s close relationship with the US Federal Government, [Google] “It is gaining a foothold in an important and hard-to-crack segment of the market,” said Youssef Skaly, head of internet research at Trust Securities.

He added that the acquisition was “rather strategic and defensive” as Google seeks to “compete aggressively with the much larger AWS and [Microsoft] I visit “.

Kevin Mandia, founder and CEO of Mandiant, said the broad scope of Google’s network and its AI capabilities will make it possible to automate and apply much of his company’s work at a larger scale, at a time when Mandiant has been struggling to find enough people to handle the demand.

“We have a massive shortage of [cyber security] experience on this planet.

Mandiant employs hundreds of consultants and analysts to work with organizations that have experienced attacks and study how breaches escalate, looking for patterns that identify attackers and help root out future attacks. About half of its revenue comes from the sale of professional services.

The deal, which would be the second largest ever by Google’s parent company Alphabet, comes at a time when the internet company is already under intense antitrust scrutiny.

Phil Venables, Google Cloud’s chief information security officer, claimed that the “client security space is very competitive” and that the acquisition “significantly increases competition in the market.”

He added that Google expects to complete the deal before the end of the year, noting that it does not expect the kind of in-depth regulatory investigation that has become common in deals by the largest technology companies.

Google already offers cyber security services to its cloud platform customers including Chronicle, which offers security analytics and automation, and the Security Command Center to help groups detect and protect cyber threats.

Mandiant, which was acquired by US cybersecurity group FireEye in 2013, became an independent publicly traded company again last year when it sold its products business and the FireEye name for $1.2 billion to a consortium led by private equity firm Symphony Technology Group.

Mandiant shares closed 16 percent higher on the Nasdaq on Monday after reports of the deal were published.