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September 2004

What the Watchfire-Sanctum acquisition means for Web app security

Last month's acquisition of Web security vendor Sanctum by Watchfire has all the markings of a fire sale. On paper, the deal allows Watchfire to complement its suite of Web developer tools with Sanctum's Web security solutions, creating a well-rounded Web application testing suite. Behind the scenes, however, unconfirmed reports of Sanctum's sub-$50 million fetching price demonstrates just how soft the Web application security market is. It also serves as a warning to other security companies and their backers. Sanctum invented the Web app security space in the mid-'90s with its firewall, AppShield, and scanner, AppScan, foreseeing the need for better application-layer security for Web environments. But the market has been mediocre at best, even with the entrance of competitors such as Teros, Kavado and SPI Dynamics. This isn't to say that Web app security risks aren't real. The attack techniques are well-documented: SQL injection, cookie poisoning and hidden form-field manipulation, to name a few. The Internet is littered with ...

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