At a glance.
- Zoom acquires Keybase.
- Clearview AI pledges to cut ties with private-sector customers.
- Semiconductor companies look to build chips in the US.
- Darktrace expects IPO next year.
- Microsoft launches $100,000 bug bounty for Azure Sphere.
Mergers and acquisitions.
San Jose, California-based video communications provider Zoom has purchased New York-headquartered encryption service company Keybase for an undisclosed sum. Keybase will help Zoom implement end-to-end encryption for its paid accounts. Zoom's CEO Eric Yuan said the company plans to "publish a detailed draft cryptographic design on Friday, May 22. We will then host discussion sections with civil society, cryptographic experts, and customers to share more details and solicit feedback. Once we have assessed this feedback for integration into a final design, we will announce our engineering milestones and goals for deploying to Zoom users."
CNBC notes that this is Zoom's first acquisition since the company's launch nine years ago. The Verge says Keybase's co-founder Max Krohn will head Zoom's security engineering team. A Zoom spokesperson told the Verge that "leaders from Zoom and Keybase will work together to determine the future of the Keybase product."
Switzerland-headquartered code security firm SonarSource has acquired Germany-based application security company RIPS Technologies. SonarSource's CEO and co-founder Olivier Gaudin said the acquisition "will enable us to accelerate on Code Security by having more precise analyzers as part of our massively adopted products, SonarQube, SonarLint and SonarCloud."
Microsoft is in discussions to acquire Israeli ICS and IoT security company CyberX. Haaretz and Globes say Microsoft is expected to pay $165 million, while Calcalist reports the purchase is estimated at $170 million. It's not clear when the acquisition will take place; Haaretz reports that Microsoft will announce in the coming days that it's already signed the deal, but Calcalist says the deal will be signed in June. Globes states that "[t]he deal is in the latter stages of being finalized."
Virginia-based C4ISR contractor Xator Corporation has acquired intelligence and engineering contractor InCadence Strategic Solutions, also based in Virginia. The terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Xator's CEO David Scott stated that the "acquisition of InCadence represents a very exciting combination of technical expertise and intellectual property, which will continue to serve our complementary client sets for years to come."
Investments and exits.
New York-based Active Directory security firm Semperis has raised $40 million in a Series B round led by Insight Partners, with participation from existing investors. The company will use the investment to "continue to expand its global presence and accelerate hiring across all functional areas." Semperis, which has experienced both growth and profitability over the past eighteen months, intends to expand into new European and Asia-Pacific markets. The firm tells us they're hiring now, which will interest qualified job-seekers during the current economic downturn. Their solution focuses on the identity platform itself, not on user behavior.
San Jose, California-based enterprise user monitoring company Dtex Systems has raised $17.5 million in a Series D round led by Northgate Capital, with participation from existing investors Norwest Venture Partners and Four Rivers Group. VentureBeat says Dtex will use the investment "to expand into new and existing verticals, including banking and financial services, critical infrastructure, government, defense, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, and manufacturing."
Tel Aviv-based cryptography company Hub Security has raised $5 million in a Series A round led by AXA Ventures, with participation from OurCrowd. Hub Security says the funding "will be used to strengthen Hub Security's team, expand their technology and offer enhanced products to fintech companies, focusing on enabling access to credit, corporate banking solutions, cross-border payments and providing ultra-secure banking solutions."
San Francisco-based identity and access governance company Clear Skye has raised $4.95 million in a Series A round led by Toba Capital, with participation from Inner Loop Capital and ServiceNow Ventures. The company says the funding "will be used to expand all facets of Clear Skye to meet the increasing demand for its Clear Skye IGA™ solution. In addition, this investment will fuel the company’s rapid acceleration internationally, where it is already seeing significant customer interest."
Eric Schmidt left his role as a technical advisor for Google in February, CNET reports. Schmidt served as Google's CEO for a decade, then became executive chairman of Google and Alphabet until 2017.
Palantir has hired former Australian politician Mike Kelly days after he retired from Parliament for health reasons, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports. Kelly told the ABC, "I have been fortunate to be able to take up a job offer with Palantir Technologies Australia that will enable me to work within my physical limitations but still be in a position to make a difference in relation to the issues that matter to me."
Security companies in the news.
Facial recognition startup Clearview AI has said it "is cancelling the accounts of every customer who was not either associated with law enforcement or some other federal, state, or local government department, office, or agency," BuzzFeed News reports. Clearview previously maintained that its facial recognition software was meant for use by law enforcement, but BuzzFeed revealed earlier this year that the company had provided its tool to a number of private companies, including Macy's, Kohl's, and Walmart. Clearview's decision to cancel its private-sector deals comes as it faces multiple lawsuits, including one that alleges the company violated Illinois's strict biometric privacy law.
US-based chip manufacturer Intel is in discussions with the US Defense Department about ramping up its domestic semiconductor production amid supply-chain security concerns, Defense News reports. An Intel spokesman said the company is seeking "to operate a U.S.-owned commercial foundry." Likewise, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) confirmed that it has communicated with the US Commerce Department as well as with Apple about building a plant in the US, although the company is still evaluating its options.
Business Weekly reports that UK-headquartered Darktrace is set for a major IPO next year. The IPO was apparently delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Microsoft announced a $100,000 bug bounty for flaws in its Azure Sphere IoT security platform, Naked Security reports. The bounty will be awarded for vulnerabilities that enable code execution on either Pluton or Secure World.