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Palo Alto Networks snaps up NSA-trained security company

Stealthy Morta Security sniffs cash, docks with security appliance maker

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Government-trained security company Morta Security has been snapped up by Palo Alto Networks for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition was announced on Monday and arms Palo Alto Networks with a company whose staff hail from the National Security Agency, US Army, US Air Force, and others.

"The Morta team brings additional valuable threat intelligence experience and capabilities to Palo Alto Networks," Palo Alto Networks chief Mark McLaughlin said in a canned statement.

"The company's technology developments align well with our highly integrated, automated and scalable platform approach and their contributions will translate into additive threat detection and prevention benefits for our customers."

Like a well-funded submarine, Morta Networks briefly surfaced in February of 2013 to announce it had slurped in an undisclosed amount of filthy valley lucre from top VCs like Greylock Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and Andreesen Horowitz, among others, then disappeared from view, until today's announcement.

The company's expertise lies in technologies relating to the prediction of cyber attacks, and pattern analysis to help sophisticated penetrations commonly called 'advanced persistent threats'.

Its staff hail from a variety of public spooky organizations including the US Air Force, US Army, National Security Agency, and have helped out from time to time on things like the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in the US House of Representatives.

As Palo Alto Networks makes proprietary hardware and software tools for edge network defense and analysis, we imagine the acquisition has been partly done to give the company better insight into the needs of US public sector organizations with healthy IT procurement budgets.

The company also expects to integrate its acquired tech with its 'WildFire' firewall product, which is already in use by over 2,400 customers.

This is Palo Alto Networks's first major acquisition. Financial terms were not disclosed. This buy follows FireEye's billion-dollar acquisition of Chinese spook-specialist Mandiant in the closing days of 2013. ®

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