Social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) announced on Thursday, August 7th, that it completed a transaction to purchase PrivateCore, a Palo Alto-based firm that develops secure server technology. Notably, the deal does not look to be the typical small tech firm “acqui-hire” transaction, as Facebook says it plans to deploy PrivateCore’s innovative technology into Facebook’s server stack in order to improve security.
The terms of the deal were not publilcly disclosed, but PrivateCore had already received $2.3 million in venture capital from TEEC Angel Fund and Foundation Capital, according to data from Crunchbase.
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Facebook statement on PrivateCore acquisition
“PrivateCore and Facebook share a vision of a more connected, secure world,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a prepared statement. “We plan to deploy PrivateCore’s groundbreaking technology into Facebook’s server stack to help further our mission to protect the people who use our service.”
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s Chief Security Officer, Joe Sullivan, offers more color on the acquisition. “Their vCage technology protects servers from persistent malware, unauthorized physical access, and malicious hardware devices, making it safer to run any application in outsourced, hosted or cloud environments,” Sullivan explained. “The team at PrivateCore is also made up of top-notch security veterans with a lot of experience.”
More on PrivateCore
PrivateCore was established in early 2012. The firm’s primary product is called the “vCage solution” which allowed PrivateCore to validate the integrity of remote servers, while simultaneously protecting data-in-use. The software protects any application in use on commodity x86 servers, which assists in combining the security that comes with an on-premise solution together with the flexibility of the cloud, according to the company’s website.
The PrivateCore management team includes CEO Oded Horovitz, a former senior engineer at VMware in the networking and security group who was involved in the vShield and VMSafe security products. Before that, Horovitz was employed was McAfee and Entercept. Co-founder Stephen Weis is a technical director at AppDirect and a member of the applied security group at Google.
Protection from the NSA?
Security analysts point out that PrivateCore’s technology might mean more to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) than just a tool for protecting users’ private data. PrivateCore has already demonstrated its vCage software running on a Tor server, for example, and uses a technology to encrypt data in RAM, which theoretically should protect against NSA-style snooping programs, as explained in a recent InformationWeek article.
Security expert Felix Linder of Recurity Labs also praised PrivateCore in the article, saying their security product was designed “by experts who knew what they were doing.”