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Verizon Acquires Niddel for Machine-learning Automated Threat Hunting Platform

Nippel CEO Felipe Boucas
Niddel CEO Felipe Boucas

Verizon, a Top 100 MSSP or 2017, has picked off Niddel, a three-year old, San Mateo, California-based security startup whose flagship Magnet platform leverages machine learning to autonomously ferret out contaminated systems inside an organization. Both companies kept the purchase price and terms of the deal to themselves.

Niddel sells Magnet as a subscription-based security monitoring service, positioning it as doing what security pros do: Identifying, investigating, analyzing and making decisions on threat intelligence. Niddel’s assumption is that external hackers are headed your way in one form or another. The idea with Magnet is to detect the threat as quickly as possible to minimize the potential damage to business assets.

The company’s value proposition appears to be two-pronged: It will ebb the torrent of false positive alerts that flood internal security teams, and its machine learning capabilities can mimic the analysis and decision-making of a security pro. By boiling down “millions of raw data indicators” into “tens of high confidence alerts,” Magnet gives enterprises a wider-eyed view of the real danger while not overburdening internal security teams with false positives, Niddel said. To make the machine learning thing work, customers don’t need to input their own code, rules, searches or content.

According to Niddel, the Magnet platform eliminates 96 percent of false positives when compared to traditional indicator-based threat hunting techniques. Niddel figures that on average about 40 percent of alerts represent novel threats identified by its machine learning model’s extrapolation of existing threat knowledge. It’s there where Magnet’s sweet spot resides: Smart distillation enables it to discover previously unknown threats that might have gone undetected by organizations' existing teams and security technologies.

With the buyout, Verizon plans to integrate Niddel’s technology and subscription services into the carrier’s existing offerings to flesh out its managed security detection and responses services as tailored for enterprise customers. Verizon's current enterprise portfolio covers network and gateway security, security monitoring and incident response.

Niddel’s key partners include Farsight, AlienVault’s Open Threat Exchange, Splunk and Carbon Black. In late November, Niddel overhauled Magnet’s integration with Splunk deployments with two new apps.

Alexander Schlager

Alexander Schlager, Verizon's executive director for security services, said the deal will enable the carrier to improve its detection and response capabilities. "Niddel's Magnet software is an innovative threat-hunting system, and we look forward to integrating this automated solution into the already robust set of managed security services offered by Verizon," Schlager said.

For Niddel, the arrangement widens the reach of the security specialist’s technology, said Felipe Boucas, Niddel CEO. He called Verizon the “perfect partner to accelerate our long-term vision.”

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.