Symantec acquires Mi5 Networks, bolsters Web security

Mi5's technology gives Symantec URL and malware filtering as well as control of unmanaged applications, such as instant messaging and VoIP programs.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Symantec Corp. announced it will acquire Mi5 Networks Inc. and plans to wrap the company's Web security gateway technology into its portfolio to help customers protect against malware entering the network. The announcement was made at the 2009 RSA Conference.

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Mi5 Networks' technology adds Web traffic-filtering capabilities to Symantec through its S2 Streaming Engine, which analyzes inbound and outbound traffic for malware. Its features include URL filtering, which scans content and uses blacklists to control Web access, as well as malware filtering to catch malware entering and leaving the network. The technology can also control the use of unmanaged applications, such as instant messaging, peer-to-peer and Skype.

Trent Henry, principal analyst at Midvale, Utah-based research firm Burton Group, wrote in a recent report on Web filtering that Mi5 was relatively new to the market. He said smaller vendors like Mi5 have struggled to compete with content-protection suites from Cisco Systems Inc., Secure Computing Corp., Symantec, Trend Micro Inc. and Websense Inc.

Francis deSouza, senior vice president of Symantec's Enterprise Security Group, said the Mi5 deal bolsters Symantec's security suites by adding new layers of protection for customers.

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"Moving forward, with the acquisition of Mi5's Web security technology," deSouza said in a statement, "Symantec is further addressing the fastest growing path for malware to infect network environments and we look forward to integrating this technology into our security portfolio.".

Details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

In addition, Symantec said Tuesday it was expanding its security portfolio by offering new Protection Suites for small business and larger enterprise customers. Symantec Protection Suite Small Business Edition secures against malware and spam threats by enabling rapid recovery among client computer systems. The Symantec Protection Suite Enterprise Edition includes Symantec's endpoint security, messaging security and system recovery technologies. The suite combines security with backup and recovery, allowing users to recover individual files and folders, as well as complete Windows systems. The Symantec Protection Suites are scheduled to be available this summer.

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