F5 Networks Makes Security Move With Antifraud Versafe Acquisition


F5 Networks, which said last year it would make a broader push into the security market, announced the acquisition of Versafe, an emerging fraud and malware detection vendor.

Financial details of the acquisition were not released. Versafe, based in Israel, is used to detect suspicious network patterns on users of e-commerce, online banking websites or other Web applications to detect suspicious behavior that may signal an attack. The company's platform is sold as a cloud-based subscription service.

The goal of the technology is to detect the difference between a criminal and a customer and shut down attacks before they gain access to critical data, said Andras Cser, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc.

[Related: 11 Ways To Detect Fraud Scams Against Your Business]

Businesses that have front-facing Web applications used by their customers are seeking ways to detect fraudulent activity against their systems by applying behavioral analysis models to identify suspicious patterns, Cser said. There has been a need to provide in-line protection without insisting that the customer download anything on their systems, Cser said.

"It's safe to say that F5 is serious about moving into security," Cser said. "The network infrastructure company can no longer ignore security, and they need to be able to provide a solution, otherwise customers will go elsewhere and get security solutions from other sources."

F5 Networks has had a partnership with Versafe through its iRules connector technology. The company said last year that it was adding security to its application delivery networking core. Its security products, which include Access Policy Manager and the Application Security Manager, are bolted onto its BIG-IP platform. The company said it also has seen growth in its line of data center firewalls.

Antifraud technologies have gained interest in recent years as businesses struggle with ways to detect man-in-the-middle attacks and other attempts to steal the account credentials of their customers.

EMC acquired Silver Tail Systems last year and said it plans to integrate the technology into its adaptive authentication strategy. Silver Tail is currently operating as an independent business unit within EMC's RSA security division. IBM also sees interest in Web-based customer analytics. It acquired Tealeaf Technology Inc. last year for customer behavior analysis and is mulling plans to use it as a building block for a full-scale fraud management offering.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 18, 2013