Fraud Detector ThreatMetrix Buys TrustDefender

Andreas Baumhof, chief executive of Sydney, Australia-based TrustDefender, has become chief technology officer for ThreatMetrix, which folded the 13-employee TrustDefender into its Sydney operation. TrustDefender had two-dozen customers, including Tesco Bank and Rabobank, Reed Taussig, president and chief executive of ThreatMetrix, said Wednesday. The transaction closed Dec. 23, but was announced Tuesday.

The acquisition adds another layer of security on San Jose, Calif.-based ThreatMetrix's cloud-based service, which identifies PCs, tablets and smartphones based on more than 250 device attributes, such as browser and Adobe Flash cookies.

These markers combined with transaction identifiers, such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers, let ThreatMetrix determine with a high degree of accuracy whether the web site of a bank or retailer is being visited by a returning customer or a potential fraudster. For first time visitors, the device attributes can be used to filter out potential cybercriminals from good customers.

TrustDefender adds the ability to detect whether the device accessing a site contains malware. "The two pieces are very, very compatible and complementary to each other," Taussig said.

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ThreatMetrix and TrustDefender do not require software on the device, which makes the services particularly applicable to banks and retailers that do not want to burden customers with installing software to conduct transactions, Taussig said.

Between 30 percent and 40 percent of ThreatMetrix sales come from companies that combine the service into their products. The company has 20 partners worldwide, including Cybersource, TransUnion and ActivIdentity.

ThreatMetrix has 65 employees and 650 customers, including Best Buy and Hewlett-Packard. Most of the company's customers are in e-commerce and financial services. With the latest acquisition, ThreatMetrix expects to expand into government and corporations.