Mimecast acquires communication security provider MessageControl

The email and data security firm says the deal will help protect customers against phishing campaigns.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Mimecast has acquired MessageControl to enhance the firm's defensive capabilities against phishing attacks. 

Announced on Thursday, the deal will see MessageControl -- also known as eTorch -- join the Mimecast team and the company's portfolio will be used to bolster existing Mimecast security solutions. 

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Financial details were not disclosed beyond the statement that the purchase is not expected to have any material impact on Mimecast's 2021 revenue or financial reports. 

According to recent research conducted by the email and web security firm, online fraud including phishing, impersonation, and data leaks are on the rise, with IT professionals reporting an increase in incidents over the past year. 

This may be unsurprising considering the upheaval caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, in which the workforce has been required to work outside of the office and the usual access to corporate networks and resources has been changed to allow for remote working -- creating an opportunity for fraudsters to take advantage of. 

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Mimecast CEO Peter Bauer says that "the first half of 2020 has been unlike anything we've experienced before," and as such, "it's becoming increasingly clear that better innovation is required to protect against the latest weaponized and unweaponized attacks."

Founded in 2015, MessageControl first began its journey in email security but quickly branched out to explore artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and behavioral algorithms that could be harnessed to create additional layers of protection. 

The firm now specializes in graph technology and ML able to inspect emails and cloud content, apply what it knows about the user's usual behavioral patterns, and flag up any suspicious activity in real-time. 

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MessageControl has also created a system to notify employees when they may be on the verge of sending information to the wrong recipients "by using historical sending patterns to predict future anomalies," according to the firm. 

The overall aim is to create an additional barrier for fraudsters to overcome by detecting phishing attempts, impersonation, and spoofing, as well as by preventing unwitting employees from sending sensitive information to attackers. 

Bauer calls the acquisition a "natural complement" to Mimecast's existing cybersecurity portfolio, and says the AI element could improve customer defenses gradually by "evolving and 'learning' the customer environment and user behaviors over time." 

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