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Proofpoint Buys Deception Tech Startup Illusive Networks

Enterprise security vendor Proofpoint on Monday announced plans to acquire Illusive Networks, a startup that helped pioneer deception technology to help detect data breaches. Financial terms of the planned acquisition were not disclosed.

Enterprise security vendor Proofpoint on Monday announced plans to acquire Illusive Networks, a startup that helped pioneer deception technology to help detect data breaches. Financial terms of the planned acquisition were not disclosed.

Illusive Networks, a Series B startup with roots in Tel Aviv, Israel, raised a total of $54 million in venture capital investments since its creation in 2014.

Illusive Networks was among the first startups to build so-called cyber deception technologies that promised early breach detection via the use of decoy assets triggering alerts.

The company marketed a product that presented a “a hostile environment for attackers,” focusing on stopping lateral movement on already-compromised networks.

For Thoma Bravo-owned Proofpoint, the planned Illusive Networks deal underscores the company’s plans to become a full-fledged enterprise security powerhouse. Proofpoint is already an entrenched player in the email security space and the addition of breach-detection tooling adds to a broadening portfolio of security products.

[ News Analysis: The Race to Find Profits in Securing Email ]

Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Proofpoint is facing intense competition from a wave of well-funded startups looking to eat away at its customer base. The company has responded with aggression on the acquisition front, snapping up companies like Meta Networks ($120 million deal), ObserveIT ($225 million all-cash deal), Wombat ($255 million deal) and Cloudmark ($110 million deal) to expand beyond e-mail security offerings.

The company said the Illusive Network purchase adds tooling for proactive identity risk discovery and remediation as well as a strong post-breach defense capabilities.

Once the deal closes, the plan is to expand the Proofpoint product portfolio to include automatic discovery and remediation of identity vulnerabilities before attackers exploit them, and detection and response to identity threats to stop privilege escalation and lateral movement to critical assets. 

Proofpoint generates about $1 billion in cybersecurity-related revenue annually.

Related: Illusive Networks Raises $24 Million in Series B1 Funding Round 

Related: Thoma Bravo Buys Proofpoint in $12.3 Billion All-Cash Deal

Related: New Product Uses Deception to Protect SWIFT-connected Banks

Written By

Ryan Naraine is Editor-at-Large at SecurityWeek and host of the popular Security Conversations podcast series. He is a security community engagement expert who has built programs at major global brands, including Intel Corp., Bishop Fox and GReAT. Ryan is a founding-director of the Security Tinkerers non-profit, an advisor to early-stage entrepreneurs, and a regular speaker at security conferences around the world.

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