IBM to Buy Trusteer for Mobile Security and Fraud Protection

IBM has announced it intends to buy Trusteer, a security and fraud protection company based in Isreal, and the company plans to build a cybersecurity software lab there as well.

Cloud Security

With rumors swirling the deal is in the US$ 1 billion range, this represents an enormous investment in cloud based security software, and specifically, in mobile, application, malware, counter fraud, financial crimes and advanced threat security. 

Trusteer apparently has the abiltiy to identify security threats that other systems tend to miss, according to an IBM statement, and seven of the top 10 US banks use its software to secure customer accounts. That Trusteer offers a Saas model for securiy delivery, it should be able to provide PC, desktop, smartphone and tablet security updates in as close to real time as possible.

That capability includes counter fraud and advanced persistent threat protection against malware and phishing attacks that target financial systems and endpoint users' personal information.

Mobile Transaction Protection

It's likely there's never been a more opportune time to give mobile device users more protection as smartphones are set to outsell PCs in 2013. More devices means more mobile access to banking information, and that only means more temptation to those seeking to exploit those systems.

Since 2011, the number of top 25 financial institutions that offer mobile person to person transfers and mobile remote deposit capabilities has more than doubled, and that likely means many tens of millions of dollars changing hands via mobile. Trusteer's technology is said to include account takeover protection, compromised device detection, complex device fingerprinting and a global fraudster database.

Security is always a high priority with enterprise businesses, and financial institutions had for many years avoided getting into mobile for that very reason. However, customer demand has indeed prompted many to begin that journey, and IBM has no doubt been watching this trend for just the right opportunity. It seems to have found it.

Tradtional anti virus software doesn't do as well with malware and phishing attacks, Yishay Yovel, VP of Marketing at Trusteer said in an IBM podcast this week. So called zero day attacks are often using new combinations of malware signatures, and anti virus software is mostly looking for familiar signals to detect those attacks, he said. 

Using advanced threat protection, Trusteer tries to stave off those sophisticated attacks, and protecting mobile transactions is a huge part of that, Yovel said. Protecting mobile banking users and employees of large companies is the key because those are places that are often targeted in order to infiltrate banks and the organizations themselves.

Trusteer is already saving banks millions of dollars per year with this technology, Marc van Zadelhoo, VP of strategy and product management at IBM said during the same podcast, and it can do the same thing at IBM. This is IBM's 14th security acquisition, van Zadelhoff said, and as is often the case in these kinds of deals, the team of security researchers already working for Trusteer is just as important as the technology.

Trusteer is a seven year old growing company, and it's technology will join other IBM security offerings like QRadar, i2, SPSS, InfoSphere and Enterprise Content Management.

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