Security Platforms/Tools

Comcast Buys AI-Powered Cybersecurity Services Company

In a move that further diversifies its business, Comcast Corp. has acquired BluVector, an Arlington, Va.-based cybersecurity services company that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to clamp down on a wide range of network threats.

Financial terms were not disclosed. But most of BluVector's employees, including its leadership team, are joining Comcast.

Tied into the deal, which coincidentally is being announced as the RSA Conference gets underway in San Francisco, Eric Malawer, a former cybersecurity staff director for the House Committee on Homeland Security, has been named CEO. Malawer has been serving as GM of cybersecurity growth and innovation at Comcast and as a senior advisor of the company's strategic development growth fund, according to his LinkedIn profile.

BluVector's founding CEO Kris Lovejoy, who recently left BluVector to become the global cybersecurity leader of professional services firm EY, will continue to serve as an advisor and consultant to BluVector and Comcast.

Noopur Davis, Comcast's chief information security officer, will head up an effort to identify new business opportunities for BluVector and use the combined technologies of Comcast and BluVector to help develop new products and initiatives.

BluVector will operate as a standalone business within Comcast, an operational structure that appears to share some similarities with MachineQ, the Comcast-owned industrial IoT company. (See Comcast's Industrial IoT Platform Has Global Potential .)

BluVector has changed hands before. BluVector, a spin-off of Northrop Grumman, was acquired in January 2017 by private equity firm LLR Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed then either, but at the time LLR Partners committed $50 million to support BluVector's acquisition and future growth plans.

Before the Comcast deal, BluVector has been focused on providing network security products and platforms and network intrusion detection systems to midsized and large organizations and government agencies, taking aim at threats such as "fileless" malware, "zero-day" (previously unknown or identified) malware and ransomware. In addition to selling directly, BluVector also has a network of partners and resellers that have included CohnReznick, Optiv, World Wide Technology, Atlantic IT Group, Force 3 and RebootTwice. (See The Rise of 'Fileless' Malware .)

Privately held BluVector doesn't reveal revenues. But it did announce last year that, through the first half of 2018, the company had grown its new annual contract value by 130% versus all of 2017 as it extended into sectors such as financial services, healthcare and manufacturing.

In addition to moving into a new business arena, Comcast also gets its hands on some intellectual property. BluVector notched a patent (No. 10,121,108) focused on malware identification in November and two others in 2017 -- No. 9,665,713, which describes a "System and Method for Automated Machine Learning, Zero-day Malware Detection," and No. 9,832,216 B2, which describes a "System and Method for Network Data Characterization."

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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