Palo Alto Networks acquires security startup Morta to outsmart hackers

The combined company will provide enhanced automation technology to prevent attacks

Palo Alto Networks, an enterprise security company, has acquired Silicon Valley startup Morta Security in a deal that the companies say will better help their clients defend themselves against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.

Palo Alto Networks announced the deal on Monday. The terms were not disclosed, but it represents the second high-profile security acquisition in recent weeks, following the purchase of Mandiant by FireEye, a Palo Alto Networks competitor. That deal was valued at around US$1 billion.

Morta is the first acquisition for Palo Alto Networks. The startup has been in stealth mode since it was founded roughly two years ago by former employees of the National Security Agency and the U.S. Air Force. The experience of Morta's founders, and the technology they have developed, is poised to help advance Palo Alto Networks' strategy of detecting and preventing cyberattacks before they become catastrophic, representatives from both companies said.

The acquisition comes as the number of cyberattacks are on the rise and hackers' methods become more sophisticated, they said. "The days are gone of the bad guy simply going after the data center," said Nir Zuk, CTO and founder at Palo Alto Networks. Now, more attacks on data centers are being directed through an end user's machine, sometimes through less secure mobile devices, Zuk said. That makes data centers more susceptible to invaders.

Retail giant Target, as well as Internet companies such as Snapchat and Twitter, have been victims of data breaches in recent months, giving rise to heightened concerns over cyberattacks. Other victims have included major media companies including The New York Times and The Washington Post, sometimes perpetrated by nation-state attackers.

As these attacks increase, IT security companies may be looking to expand their tool sets and enhance their offerings to clients, possibly through acquisitions.

In the case of Palo Alto Networks, the acquisition of Morta is designed to strengthen its automation technologies, which analyze computer systems to detect abnormal behaviors and reduce the risk of attacks before they happen. This cuts down on the often high costs of bringing actual humans or consultants in to fix the problem after a data breach has occurred, the company said. It's also a different approach compared with first-generation security companies like Symantec and McAfee, the company said.

Palo Alto Networks likened the strategy employed by its competitor FireEye to being "post breach," meaning that the attacks are addressed after the fact by consultants or other personnel on the ground. Other traditional security software tackles problems in a more piecemeal fashion, Palo Alto Networks said, but their technology is designed to prevent attacks automatically, and earlier on.

Morta, based in Santa Clara, California, was founded in 2005 and claims more than 2,400 customers.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesonline safetysecuritydata breachDesktop securityExploits / vulnerabilitiesIdentity fraud / theftinternetdata protectionpalo alto networksMorta Security

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?