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Cybersecurity forces align as FireEye acquires Mandiant

The newly formed duo can now detect, prevent, and resolve breaches -- this could have ramifications for security firm competitors and governments accused of spying on their citizens and allies.

Two well-known companies that deal with Internet security have joined forces.

Anti-malware firm FireEye announced Thursday that it acquired data breach responder Mandiant for roughly $1 billion, based on the current value of FireEye shares. This deal could have broad implications for competing cybersecurity firms and even for governments that have been criticized for monitoring users on the Web.

"Organizations today are faced with knitting together a patchwork of point products and services to protect their assets from advanced threats," FireEye CEO David DeWalt said in a statement. "Together, the size and global reach of FireEye and Mandiant will enable us to innovate faster, create a more comprehensive solution, and deliver it to organizations around the world at a pace that is unmatched by other security vendors."

By combining the skills of FireEye, which detects and prevents cyberthreats, with those of Mandiant, which resolves breaches, this newly formed duo could compete against security firm giants like McAfee and Symantec. It also could have ramifications for governments that have been accused of spying on their citizens and allies, like the US, China, and Iran.

As the world becomes increasingly reliant on the Internet and computer systems, the need for security software vendors and responders is only slated to grow. Last year it was reported that hackers were stealing more than 1 terabyte of data daily from governments, businesses, militaries, and academic facilities.

Mandiant made a splash last year when it released a report that linked China's People's Liberation Army to a large number of cyberattacks against the US. The company also is known for working as the cybersecurity adviser to more than 30 Fortune 100 companies.

FireEye went public earlier this year and currently has more than 1,500 government and private company customers. It has worked with Mandiant on various projects over the last two years. With the acquisition, Mandiant founder and CEO Kevin Mandia will become FireEye's chief operating officer.

"By joining FireEye and Mandiant, we will be able to deliver fully integrated products and services that help organizations protect themselves from attacks," Mandia said. "The combined product portfolio will cover all the major attack points within an organization, and our expanded services capacity will allow us to quickly pivot to incident response when necessary to reduce the impact of security breaches."