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Recorded Future Acquires SecurityTrails in $65M Deal

With eyes firmly set on the booming attack surface management space, threat intel powerhouse Recorded Future is shelling out $65 million to purchase SecurityTrails, a startup that helps organizations keep track of internet-facing assets.

With this transaction, Somerville, Mass.-based Recorded Future gets a direct entry into the competitive continuous Attack Surface Management (ASM) business and new technology to help organizations with real-time visibility into networks and servers exposed to malicious actors.

The $65 million deal comes less than a year after Recorded Future announced an early-stage investment in SecurityTrails as part of its strategic threat intel investment fund. At the time, Recorded Future chief executive Christopher Ahlberg told SecurityWeek the fund would be doing investments “in the $1 million to $2 million range.”

SecurityTrails sells technology and feeds that provide visibility as well as a historical view of an organization's assets on the internet at any given time. The resulting intelligence allows defenders to manage both critical assets and shadow infrastructure for a complete understanding of their attack surface.

[READ: The Rise of Continuous Attack Surface Management ]

As organizations struggle to fend off data extortion and APT malware attacks, security programs have turned to attack surface management tools to keep a running inventory of things like domains, sub-domains, historical DNS data and SSL certificates.

“The basic security principle to “know your network better than the adversary” simply cannot happen as CIOs and CISOs have little visibility into all of their internet-facing assets and infrastructure,” Ahlberg said in a statement announcing the SecurityTrails transaction.

He said the plan is for Recorded Future to roll out an Attack Surface Intelligence Module within the Recorded Future Intelligence Platform and continue to aggressively invest in SecurityTrails inventory collection and intelligence capabilities.  “[We want to build out the world’s deepest, real-time dataset of the internet.”

This is the second Recorded Future acquisition linked to its Intelligence Fund, an in-house initiative that sets aside $20 million to invest in early-stage startups with threat-intelligence products.

[ READ: Recorded Future Unveils $20M Threat-Intel Investment Fund ]

In addition to SecurityTrails, the fund invested in Gemini Advisory before Recorded Future eventually acquired the company in a $52 million deal that provided access to financial services and payment processing markets.

“We are in a sweet spot to do small investments, in the $1 million to $2 million range,” Ahlberg said at the time, noting that he’s open to joining venture capital funding rounds led by other investment groups.

Together with co-founder Staffan Truvé, Ahlberg launched Recorded Future in 2009 with initial funding from Google and In-Q-Tel, building out an early-warning system for data found on the darkweb and morphing into a threat-intel data broker for a wide range of organizations.  

Related: Recorded Future Unveils $20M Threat-Intel Investment Fund

Related: CyCognito Snags $100M Investment for Attack Surface Management

Related: Recorded Future Acquired for $780M

Related: Recorded Future Adds Third-Party Risk to Threat Intel Platform

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Ryan Naraine is Editor-at-Large at SecurityWeek and host of the popular Security Conversations podcast series. Ryan is a veteran cybersecurity strategist who has built security engagement programs at major global brands, including Intel Corp., Bishop Fox and GReAT. He is a co-founder of Threatpost and the global SAS conference series. Ryan's past career as a security journalist included bylines at major technology publications including Ziff Davis eWEEK, CBS Interactive's ZDNet, PCMag and PC World. Ryan is a director of the Security Tinkerers non-profit, an advisor to early-stage entrepreneurs, and a regular speaker at security conferences around the world. Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanaraine.