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RSA snaps up authentication software maker

RSA Security acquires PassMark Security for $44.7 million, in a move to bolster its presence in financial services.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto
RSA Security has acquired authentication software maker PassMark Security in a $44.7 million cash and stock deal.

The acquisition is designed to bolster RSA's presence in the financial services arena and build on its recent acquisition of Cyota, the company announced Sunday. PassMark, based in Menlo Park, Calif., provides so-called two-factor authentication for conducting transactions over the Internet.

"As financial institutions of all sizes race to address the regulatory community's guidance on stronger authentication, this acquisition...(broadens) our distribution network and adds deep domain expertise in consumer authentication," Art Coviello, RSA chief executive, said in a statement.

PassMark's technology is designed to guarantee the identity of a person who visits a Web site, based on his or her password and the type of device used. The technology simultaneously aims to confirm for the user that the Web site is legitimate using visual images. PassMark also uses a voice-based biometric system to verify users' identity via wired and wireless phones, using their voice as a form of ID.

The PassMark deal is designed to dovetail into RSA's acquisition of Cyota in December. Cyota focuses on serving the financial services industry by providing antiphishing technologies, among other services.