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FireEye to buy Mandiant for $1bn and strengthen anti-spying capabilities

FireEye, the New York-based cyber-threat detection firm, is buying the information security and anti-spying company Mandiant for $1bn.

Mandiat famously revealed how the Chinese military spied on Western firms and governments in an attempt to gain competitive advantage, but its anti-spying skills are equally in demand after Edward Snowden’s revelations about the US National Security Agency's (NSA) spying activities. It is believed that the firm’s anti-spying expertise is behind Fire Eye’s offer of $100m in cash and $900m in shares to takeover Mandiant.

Kevin Mandia, Mandiant’s founder back in 2004 and a former US military cyber-crime investigator, has considerable expertise in this field and it is understood he will become FireEye’s new chief operating officer (COO) in the new merged entity.

According to David De Walt, chairman and chief executive of FireEye and ex-head of McAfee, the revelations of the NSA mass surveillance programme and Mandiant’s report on Chinese hackers had “accelerated business opportunities” for the company, he told the ‘FT’.

“A lot of companies, organisations and governments said ‘look how pervasive these superpowers are in monitoring and stealing from these companies’. There is an accelerating awareness [of the threat] that just wasn’t there a year ago.”

DeWalt went on to say how he believes the link-up could herald a new generation of cyber-security protection, displacing the outdated antivirus model with a more active seek and destroy approach. FireEye could respond in “seconds or minutes” to the advanced threat posed by, for example, a “particularly nasty nation state attacker”, he told the ‘FT’, and then pass the issue - malware, for example - to Mandiant to “fix in real time.”

In a prepared statement, DeWalt went on to say that: “Organisations today are faced with knitting together a patchwork of point products and services to protect their assets from advanced threats. Together, the size and global reach of FireEye and Mandiant will enable us to innovate faster, create a more comprehensive solution, and deliver it to organisations around the world at a pace that is unmatched by other security vendors.”

By Neil Ainger