Security software maker McAfee announced a deal to buy ScanAlert, a Napa, Calif.-based company whose Internet security technology will allow McAfee to spread its offerings into the e-commerce market. McAfee will pay $51 million in cash for the company and expects to close the deal in McAfee's first quarter of next year.
"Certainly e-commerce is an important part of Web security," says Todd Gebhart, SVP and general manager, McAfee Consumer, Mobile and Small Business. "This technology is exciting and it gives us the confidence of e-commerce security over the Web." ScanAlert's flagship brand is Hacker Safe, a security certification technology McAfee hopes to adapt to its SiteAdvisor service, which McAfee acquired in April 2006.
ScanAlert currently provides security services for 8,000 customers across 75,000 Web sites, with the Hacker Safe brand appearing on the sites of companies like Toshiba and Warner Bros. "I think if you look at the data, and you look at surveys we've done, the emerging [security] threats are coming over the Internet," Gebhart says. "It's not just our customers asking for protection but our partners as well."
Gebhart says he considers himself an online shopper and says he thinks trust in a secure online transaction manifests itself in the reputation of the site, as well as the security certification it claims. "Don't shop online if you don't have some sort of certified site to go to," he says.
Gebhart says McAfee is now in the process of tying the power of the ScanAlert brand with the power of the McAfee brand. "We need to work through the integration process, but we hope it won't be too far beyond the closing before we see McAfee products using these technologies," he says.