Malware, Threat Management

Twitter acquires web malware fighter Dasient

Twitter has acquired web security provider Dasient for an undisclosed sum.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, founded in 2008, offers products that enable the detection and removal of web-based malware and malicious online ads, known as "malvertisements."

The deal, announced Monday, means that Dasient will become part of Twitter and will no longer take on new customers.

"By joining Twitter, Dasient will be able to apply its technology and team to the world's largest real-time information network," it said in a blog post.

Andrew Walls, research director at Gartner, said the purchase seems to underscore Twitter's desire to be viewed as a serious enterprise player as it seeks out "revenue-generating customers," Walls told on Tuesday. In particular, Twitter is drawn to Dasient for its ad network protection offering.

"My read is that Twitter is pursuing some sort of sustainable revenue channel," Walls said. "They need to show stability and a robust platform for commercial entites to offer advertising. Nobody wants their ad placement hacked or reused in some fashion."

As Twitter has soared in popularity, cybercriminals have found the service to be fertile ground for malware spread. In March, Barracuda Networks studied more than 26 million Twitter accounts and determined that the "crime rate" on the site increased 20 percent from the first half of 2010 to the second half of the year. Barracuda blamed the spike on malware distribution and vulnerability exploitation.

This is a real problem for organizations, which are embracing the use of social networking sites by their employees more than ever before. A September study from the Ponemon Institute, which polled more than 4,600 organizations worldwide, found that more than half blamed attacks on the increasing usage of platforms like Twitter.

In 2010, Twitter settled Federal Trade Commission charges over security and privacy snafus.

This marks the second security-related buy in as many months for Twitter. In late November, the microblogging service purchased Whisper Systems, a year-old start-up that provides Android defenses. A few weeks later, it open-sourced some of Whisper's code.

A Twitter spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

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