Two giants in the multi-front war on cyber-crime have joined forces.
Cyber security firm Symantec has agreed to pay $2.3 billion for Lifelock, which provides ID theft protection. Symantec, best known for its Norton anti-virus software, says the combined company will be the largest consumer computer security business with about $2.3 billion in annual revenues.
The deal makes some sense for Symantec, which has seen revenue fall in its Norton unit as online use has migrated from computers to mobile devices. Norton software often comes bundled with new desktop and laptop computers. Lifelock has 4.4 million users and about $660 million in revenues. In August Symantec bought Blue Coat, which helps companies maintain internet security.
More than one observer has noted that Lifelock has something of a checkered history. The firm, which advertises relentlessly on talk radio and other media, has been fined twice by the Federal Trade Commission for failing to live up to its promoted promises. The FTC levied an $11 million fine in 2010 and a $100 million penalty in 2015.
Lifelock charges between $110 and $330 per year for identity theft protection.
You may recall that awkward moment when the former CEO of Lifelock tried to prove the service’s effectiveness by publicizing his Social Security number only to have his identity stolen a dozen times.
I think this is a smart deal for Symantec. They need to continue to diversify in this age of mobile computing. I realize Lifelock has its problems, but I have several friends and associates who say the company has been very effective in protecting their cyber identity. I expect Lifelock will benefit from Symantec’s expertise and reputation.