Sourcefire buys Immunet for cloud-based antivirus

Immunet will be integrated with Snort, ClamAV and Sourcefire's network behavior analysis capabilities to create a cloud-based enterprise suite.

Network security vendor Sourcefire Inc. has acquired cloud-based security startup Immunet for $21 million in cash.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Immunet Corp. was founded in 2008. The company offers free cloud-based antivirus. It uses a reputation detection engine that is driven and updated using a community model that it says has more than 750,000 users. It also sells a subscription-based pro version that is combined with signature-based antivirus.

Sourcefire, known for its open source intrusion prevention system, Snort, said Immunet will be integrated with Snort, with its open source signature antivirus ClamAV and with Sourcefire's existing intrusion detection and intrusion prevention system to provide a new software-as-a-service suite capable of detecting malware in the cloud.

"This uses a fundamentally new detection model designed to run side by side with existing antimalware technology," said Martin Roesch, founder and chief technology officer of Sourcefire in a briefing late Wednesday. "We'll be taking this thing which people can get for free and adding manageability and scalability to make it an enterprise product."

Roesch said the two companies have been working together for about a year to work on product integration. An enterprise offering will be released in late 2011.

Immunet provides a wide variety of information about the state of a host that can be useful for compliance reporting and other capabilities. In addition to advanced data mining and machine learning technologies to provide detection capabilities in cloud computing environments, Immunet has a social network like aspect that can provide near real-time protection.

Sourcefire said it will retain all fulltime Immunet personnel, including founders Oliver Friedrichs, Alfred Huger and Adam O'Donnell.

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