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US gov IT services vendor swallows HBGary

ManTech wants to penetrate deeper into cyber-security market

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US government IT services firm ManTech International has bought HBGary, the network forensics and malware analysis firm best known for last year's hack by Anonymous against its now-defunct sister firm, HBGary Federal.

Financial terms of the deal, announced Monday, were not disclosed other than to say it was an "asset purchase" (a distinction that means ManTech avoids taking on any of HBGary's liabilities, legal or financial).

ManTech said the acquisition would bolster its expansion into the cyber-security market. In a statement, HBGary CEO Greg Hoglund put a positive spin on the sale.

"ManTech will give HBGary significant and positive growth, expanding our opportunities. HBGary's commercial customers will benefit from the addition of ManTech's world-class incident response services, and ManTech's government business will be bolstered with a cutting edge set of products to protect mission-critical IT assets."

Former HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr planned to release information culled from social media on the top dogs of Anonymous at the Security BSides conference last year. But he never got the chance to give this presentation. Once news of the planned release came out, Anonymous turned the tables on HBGary Federal by hacking into its systems, defacing its website and extracting its email spools, which it then released as a torrent. The emails revealed proposals to run a dirty tricks campaign against WikiLeaks, among other embarrassing revelations.

Barr resigned in the wake of the hack while HBGary Inc was arguably damaged by association. HBGary Federal had been established with Barr as its chief exec because Barr had the contacts and security clearance to sell services to the US federal government.

By throwing its lot in with ManTech, HB Gary is trying to achieve the same ends via a different, less risky, route. ®

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