Palo Alto Networks has acquired Morta Security, a Silicon Valley startup run by former U.S. Air Force and National Security Agency (NSA) staff.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Palo Alto's acquisition isn't large, but plays into a recurring theme in recent months: next-generation security companies are being snapped up at a rapid rate.
The acquisition comes just days after FireEye, a Palo Alto Networks competitor,for more than $1 billion. Cisco acquired SourceFire in mid-2013 in a deal .
"The company's technology developments align well with our highly integrated, automated and scalable platform approach and their contributions will translate into additive threat detection and prevention benefits for our customers," Palo Alto president Mark McLaughlin said.
Antivirus companies and malware prevention firms are no longer the be-all and end-all of modern online threats. A desktop antivirus isn't going to prevent a large-scale denial-of-service attack, nor will it always protect against data theft.
The threat landscape has changed over the past year — not least with the years of allegations that the Chinese areU.S. networks, as well as private companies, such as Huawei, being in their technologies. But also because the NSA, who Morta's chief executive Raj Shah once worked for as a "policy advisor," also reportedly worldwide as part of a secretive intelligence-gathering program.
Morta Security focuses particularly on advanced persistent threats, a new kind of security issue that sees governments and state-sponsored companies attack foreign computers and networks — including those of governments.
Advanced persistent threats can also include criminals attacking high-value targets. Not so long ago, retail chain Target saw, including credit card data and encrypted PIN codes, stolen in what became the largest breaches of 2013.
The irony is that Morta tries to prevent the attacks that the NSA has reportedly used to acquire foreign information. Recently, Microsoft chief counsel Brad Smithas an "advanced persistent threat."