McAfee to acquire ScanAlert

Security software maker announces plans to acquire Hacker Safe site certifier in a cash deal worth approximately $51 million.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto
2 min read

McAfee announced plans on Tuesday to acquire ScanAlert in deal worth approximately $51 million in cash.

And what is McAfee looking to get for its money? For starters, it'll snap up ScanAlert's Hacker Safe Web site security certification service, bolster its own SiteAdvisor security-rating system, and become the keeper of ScanAlert's proverbial "good housekeeping" seal for sites seeking to reassure customers that they are conducting safe online transactions.

The acquisition, expected to close in the first quarter, calls for integrating ScanAlert's e-commerce security certification service into McAfee's SiteAdvisor system. McAfee last year acquired SiteAdvisor, which informs users about the safety of their returned search results, estimating the likelihood that a site could potentially infect their computer with spyware, spam, or a browser attack.

ScanAlert issues a Hacker Safe certification to Web sites that have undergone its scanning service for vulnerabilities, as well as demonstrating that they have been fixed. The sites also need to undergo daily scans by ScanAlert, in order to maintain their Hacker Safe stamp of approval.

The Hacker Safe certification will be visible through SiteAdvisor, once the acquisition is completed, and the technologies are integrated.

Security fears have resulted in consumers delaying their online-shopping decisions and transactions by more than half a day, according to ScanAlert's own research.

Those concerns are nothing new. Two years ago, a fourth of online shoppers reduced their purchases, as fear over identity theft soared, according to a report by RSA Security.

E-commerce site operators, as a result, have been particularly interested in trying various techniques to boost the security of their sites.

As part of the McAfee deal, ScanAlert may see its overall acquisition price jump by another $24 million, should it hit certain performance targets.

The company has 8,000 customers, who represent more than 75,000 Web sites. Those customers include Toshiba, Warner Bros., and the American Red Cross.