Information security giant Symantec today announced its third acquisition in Israel: Javelin Networks, which develops protection for an Active Directory (AD) package of services tools used to manage organizational networks. The price for the acquisition was not disclosed, but market sources believe it is in the $20-30 million range.
Founded in 2014, Javelin has raised $5 million in two financing rounds. The company's main shareholders are founders CEO Roi Abutbul, Guy Franco, and Almog Ohayon, and Ron and Lior Prosor with RSL Venture Partners. Other investors in the company include Hillsven Capital and Tomer Weingarten, CEO of Sentinel One and UpWest Labs.
Javelin has 15 employees, 12 of whom work in its Tel Aviv development center, which will remain an independent unit in Symantec and maintain its current organizational structure, with Abutbul continuing as CEO. The product developed by Javelin will be added to Symantec's product portfolio. The development center will double in size in the coming months.
AD is a database in the Microsoft's operating system used for concentrated management and security of networks, and which can be accessed from any end-user station. It contains all of the information on all of the servers, the users, and the stations connected to organizational networks. Javelin believes that in an era of cloud networks, AD is an easy target for attackers, who can retrieve information from it that will enable them to take over the entire organizational network relatively easily.
Abutbul told "Globes," "If attackers succeed in penetrating the network, the first thing they'll do is take advantage of this database, which is exposed by definition at every station. In that way, they get an opportunity to study the map of the whole network and expand to all of the stations from the inside. The idea is to protect the root of the problem - the tool used by the attacker to expand.
"Symantec is the security company with the biggest customer base in the world - 150 million stations, an enormous number, connected to AD. They looked at this and realized that it was the missing part of the puzzle. The story began in 2017, but our idea was to try to reach a distributor, and that's how we came to talk to Symantec. After a few months, we started talking about an investment, and when we were already very close, they decided to change strategy and offered to buy us."
Another, much larger, exit of an Israeli company dealing in AD defense is the acquisition of Aorato by Microsoft in 2014 for $200 million. The company was acquired in much the same state as Javelin, when it had 10 employees and had raised a total of $10 million. Aorato protected AD by assessing the behavior of users with respect to the component itself and detecting irregular behavior. Abutbul says, "This is like looking for a needle in a haystack. There's a lot of information to look for in malicious activity, and this also results in many false positives and delay in the response."
Abutbul argues that while Aorato's solution can detect an attack only retroactively, Javelin's solution is capable of preventing an attack by stopping the attacker in AD, because it operates on the end stations themselves. "We're located in the memory of every station connected to AD, and we've got a very special algorithm that's able to detect the malicious interaction with AD. We're able to stop it in the station," he claimed.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 5, 2018
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