Symantec to Acquire Web Threat Isolation Startup Fireglass

Thursday Jul 6th 2017 by Pedro Hernandez
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The company is buying the New York City startup to help protect users from malicious websites.

As much as they have helped revolutionize how the world conducts business, consumes content and wile away the hours, web browsers have also served as a disturbingly effective way of distributing malware and other harmful code. With its latest buy, Symantec wants to shut down this popular attack vector.

The company announced today that it is acquiring Fireglass, a New York City cybersecurity startup with a research and development unit in Israel. Financial terms were not disclosed. Symantec expects the deal to close sometime in the current quarter.

Using the company's patented Transparent Clientless Rendering technology, the cloud-based Fireglass web isolation platform essentially virtualizes web browsers. As users traverse the web, Fireglass runs each browsing session in a secure disposable container, rendering web content in real-time and delivering it to users as a harmless visual stream. Any potential malware or other harmful code never makes its way to an end-user system.

Founded in 2014, by Check Point Software veteran Guy Guzner and Dan Amiga, formerly of Schneider-Electric and the Israeli military intelligence community, Fireglass officially emerged from stealth in February 2016. The previous month, the company announced it had raised $20 million in a Series A round of funding.

Symantec plans to incorporate Fireglass' tech into its enterprise security product portfolio, a move that may help drastically reduce malware infections in corporate networks.

"Integrating Fireglass' isolation technology with Symantec's existing endpoint, email and secure web gateway solutions could reduce security events by as much as 70 percent, while virtually eliminating advanced threats spread by web browsing or email content," commented Greg Clark, CEO of Symantec, in a July 6 announcement. "Isolation will become a core component in the design of cyber defense architectures for the cloud generation who face the reality of an encrypted Internet and the crisis inherent in email and web-delivered attacks."

In some respects, Fireglass will enable Symantec to lift a big burden from IT professionals who find themselves constantly putting out cybersecurity fires caused by click-happy employees.

"The ability for the security team to take an aggressive stance on unknown websites and questionable attachments without causing chaos for a company's users and IT help desk is now a reality," Clark stated. "Isolation is a key element of securing the cloud generation and is even a productivity gain for both the end user and security operations center."

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