IBM Security to buy leading-edge ReaQta, continue investing in Asia

11, Nov. 2021

IBM Security experts working at IBM Security Command Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. (Photo: IBM)
IBM Security experts working at IBM Security Command Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. (Photo: IBM)

By Celine Chen

SINGAPORE, NNA - IBM Security is beefing up its cybersecurity threat detection and response capabilities even further with its planned acquisition of ReaQta which operates a powerful next-generation endpoint protection platform.

Headquartered in Singapore with a primary business office in the Netherlands, ReaQta offers security solutions that leverage AI to automatically identify and manage threats, while remaining undetectable to adversaries.

Built with advanced automated threat-hunting features, ReaQta allows organizations to eliminate the most advanced threats in real-time, said IBM in a press release on Nov. 2.

"This move will expand IBM's capabilities in the extended detection and response (XDR) market, aligning with IBM's strategy to deliver security with an open approach that extends across disparate tools, data and hybrid cloud environments," said IBM, one of the biggest American tech companies in the world and renowned for producing and selling computer hardware and software, cloud computing and data analytics.

On the acquisition of ReaQta and its investments in Southeast Asia, IBM told NNA that it will continue to invest in talent and technologies in the region and Asia-Pacific as they are key markets for the company.

In its ASEAN cyberthreat assessment 2021 report, INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) warned that cybercrime’s upward trend is set to rise exponentially in the region, with highly organized cybercriminals sharing resources and expertise to their advantage.

The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) noted a spike in cyber threats such as ransomware and online scams in 2020. The agency's Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team handled a total of 9,080 cases, up from 8,491 in 2019 and 4,977 in 2018.

On the new ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence established in Singapore, the agency said last month that it will carry out research and training as well as exchange information and best practices among the bloc's member-states.

Chris Meenan, vice president of IBM security product management, told NNA, "As companies evolve and modernize their digital infrastructure, attackers will continue to look for ways to exploit these systems for their gain. Currently, the disparate and fragmented nature of companies' IT and security systems is creating layers of complexity that are increasingly difficult to secure."

Therefore, companies should adopt a "zero trust" approach in which "every connection, user and device is continually monitored and verified based on the context, risk and behavior in order to quickly identify and isolate threats before they are able to do real damage," said Meenan.

In addition, companies must urgently simplify and better connect their systems, bringing together the relevant data and context to spot the most critical threats quickly, and respond more efficiently across disparate tools, data and processes.

He said, "The use of open tools, platforms and standards, along with AI and automation, are key to simplifying and speeding response to threats – which is why IBM is continuing to invest in these technologies across our security portfolio, including our planned acquisition of ReaQta."

IBM will continue to grow its Asia-Pacific and huge global presence and ecosystem, including alliances and integrations with hundreds of technology, channel and service partners.

Companies across the world have been struggling to secure increasingly dispersed IT environments, with the proliferation of devices, users, and technologies spreading through clouds and on-premises infrastructure.

As a result, security events are becoming more difficult and costly to detect and contain, with data breaches costing over $4 million for each incident and taking an average of 212 days to identify, according to the 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report from IBM and Ponemon Institute.

Cybersecurity continues to be one of the top challenges plaguing organizations around the world, leading to significant impact on companies’ bottom line, said Meenan.

"Our 2021 data breach report found that the cost of a data breach is now $4.24 million per incident on average – a record high in the 17-year-history of the report," he said.

Among the types of cyber threats, Ransomware is emerging as a particularly aggressive and costly breed of cybercrime targeting organizations of all types and sizes.

It represents 23 percent of all incidents that the IBM X-Force security team helped companies respond to and remediate in 2020, Meenan told NNA.

"As one example of the scale of these attacks, we estimate that the ransomware group “Sodinokibi” made over $123 million as a conservative estimate last year, with around two out of three victims paying the ransom to recover their systems and data," he added.

IBM announced details of its new suite of XDR (extended detection and response) solutions under its IBM QRadar brand together with news of ReaQta acquisition.

The new offerings are designed to help security analysts break down the silos between the proliferation of point products in the industry – providing comprehensive visibility across security tools and data sources, whether in the cloud or on-premises, and equipping security teams with the insights and automation they need in order to act quickly.

Following the acquisition of ReaQta, its XDR solutions will boost IBM's security portfolio.

Mary O'Brien, general manager of IBM Security, said, "With our expanded capabilities via QRadar XDR and the planned addition of ReaQta, IBM is helping clients get ahead of attackers with the first XDR solution that reduces vendor lock-in via the use of open standards."

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by the end this year.

ReaQta was built by an elite group of cybersecurity experts and researchers with AI and machine learning expertise and extensive backgrounds in security operations.

ReaQta's behavioral-based platform helps stop known and unknown threats in real-time and can be deployed in a hybrid model – on premises or in the cloud as well as disconnected network environments.

Through deep learning done natively on the endpoint, the platform constantly improves on defining threat behavior tailored to each business per endpoint, allowing it to block any abnormal behavior.

ReaQta's platform also leverages a unique 'Nano OS' that monitors the operating systems from the outside, helping to prevent interference by adversaries.

Alberto Pelliccione, CEO at ReaQta, said, "Our mission at ReaQta has been to better equip the defenders, who are tirelessly striving to stay ahead of cyber threats, with advanced technology to quickly identify and block new attacks."

"Joining forces with IBM will enable us to enhance and scale our unique AI capabilities across all types of environments via a proven platform for threat detection and response," he added.

Building further on IBM's open approach to XDR, the company also introduced XDR Connect, which helps companies connect and automate threat detection and response across existing toolsets.

IBM operates one of the world's broadest security research, development and delivery organizations, monitoring over 150 billion security events each day in more than 130 countries.

However, IBM was taken aback by the seemingly lackadaisical attitude of many top executives despite cyber threats hitting at an all-time high.

In its recent survey, more than a third of nearly 7,200 C-suite executives from 28 industries across the world did not indicate improving cybersecurity and reducing security risks as among their largest business and IT investments.