Facebook moves to protect user data with PrivateCore buy

Cybersecurity startup PrivateCore's tech can help prevent hackers -- or anyone -- from accessing Facebook user data

Facebook has moved to beef up its servers by agreeing to buy cybersecurity startup PrivateCore.

Oded Horovitz, co-founder and CEO of PrivateCore, announced the acquisition in a blog post on his company's website. He didn't disclose the purchase price.

PrivateCore, a two-year-old company based in Palo Alto, Calif., develops software to validate and secure server data.

"Since the beginning, we have worked tirelessly on our technology to protect servers from malware threats, unauthorized physical access, and malicious hardware devices" Horovitz wrote. "Working together with Facebook, there is a huge opportunity to pursue our joint vision at scale with incredible impact. Over time, Facebook plans to deploy our technology into the Facebook stack to help protect the people who use Facebook."

Facebook's Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan noted in his own post that the addition of PrivateCore's technology should keep the social network's user data more secure.

"We finished implementing HTTPS encryption by default over a year ago, and have also been working to secure all data center traffic with additional protections," wrote Sullivan. "In that vein, I'm really excited that Facebook has entered into an agreement to acquire PrivateCore.

Sullivan said PrivateCore's "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."

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said Facebook is trying to take its security systems to the next level, to make it harder for hackers -- and governments -- to access user data.

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said the acquisition is a sign that Facebook is getting more serious about security.

"This is surely a good thing," he said. "At this point, it's difficult to tell if there's a particular attribute that attracted Facebook to PrivateCore, since they have a wide range of security features. However, I did notice that they have encryption mechanisms that work with data while it is being processed -- as opposed to encryption that is in place only when data is at rest or being moved. This might have Facebook moving to a higher level of account protection down the road."

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