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Booz Allen to Acquire AI-based Morphick

Contracting giant Booz Allen is to acquire cybersecurity firm Morphick. Few details have been made public -- there is no statement on the price involved nor the future of existing Morphick staff. Nevertheless, this seem to be a good fit for both companies, with Morphick gaining access to more customers, and Booz Allen moving further along its published plan to expand its commercial presence.

Morphick is located in Cincinatti with a staff of around 40 cybersecurity specialists. Booz Allen has its global headquarters in McLean, Virginia, and employs around 23,000 people. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2018, and is subject to customary closing conditions.

"The acquisition bolsters Booz Allen's growth strategy in its U.S. Commercial business, where the focus is on expanding clients' access to scalable, on-demand managed threat services. The addition of the Morphick team and technology further solidifies the firm's ability to solve increasingly advanced cyber challenges," said Horacio Rozanski, president and CEO of Booz Allen. "Under our long-term growth strategy, Vision 2020, Booz Allen has been moving closer to the center of our clients' missions, fusing our consulting heritage with expert capabilities in cyber, digital solutions, engineering and analytics," he added.

At least part of Morphick's technology comes from AI firm, Endgame. "The Morphick Managed EDR service, powered by Endgame," announced Endgame in January 2017, "combines Morphick's best-in-class managed detection and response services with Endgame's unparalleled EDR platform to provide customers with earliest prevention, accelerated detection and response, and automated hunt of next-gen attacks."

Booz Allen is moving straight to 'next-gen' threat detection with AI and machine-learning detection capabilities rather than signature-based detection -- and calls it 'an adaptive approach to threat detection'. "Morphick's technology is differentiated by an adaptive approach to threat detection that addresses the growing challenge of highly evolved cyber threats and determined attackers, empowering companies to protect themselves and respond more effectively," says Booz Allen. "The platform, which analyzes the motivation and actions of attackers to thwart their attacks, assists companies in mitigating the challenges of the shortage of skilled cyber professionals and limitations of traditional, static defenses."

Existing Morphick staff will also complement Booz Allen's current market presence. Describing its own alliance with Morphick, Endgame commented, "Core to the service offering are Morphick's seasoned security analysts and NSA-accredited incident response teams, whose deep expertise enables them to identify and terminate the efforts of latent attackers targeting organizations' intellectual property, business systems, or other key assets. These analysts will leverage Endgame's EDR platform to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to advanced attacks without the reliance on signatures."

Endgame's involvement in Morphick technology will continue beyond the acquisition. "Endgame and Morphick are committed to continuing our relationship following the Booz Allen Hamilton transaction," an Endgame spokesperson told SecurityWeek. "Morphick has realized tremendous value for itself and its customers thanks to its use of the Endgame platform, and Morphick will continue to use and market the platform for their customers following the acquisition."

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Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.