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Cloudflare buys anti-phishing business Area 1 for $162m

Krazy Glue of the internet Cloudflare has buffed up its email security with the purchase of anti-phishing firm Area 1.

Area 1 Security is all about pre-emptively tracking phishing campaigns and preventing customer mailboxes being troubled thanks to its INBOX.CLEAN product.

Cloudflare introduced an Advanced Email Security Suite in 2021 and rolled out its Email Security DNS Wizard in September that year. The latter was built to tackle email spoofing and phishing, and could be used to create DNS records to stop malicious emails being sent on behalf of a customer’s domain.

Prior to this, in early 2020, Cloudflare signed up with Area 1 and then things took an unexpected turn, as highlighted by Cloudflare execs yesterday.

“With Area 1, we’ve been able to proactively identify phishing campaigns and take action against them before they cause damage,” said Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming. “In fact, Area 1’s technology was so effective at launch that our CEO reached out to our Chief Security Officer to inquire if our email security was broken.

“Our CEO hadn’t seen any phishing attempts reported by our employees for many weeks, a rare occurrence. It turns out our employees weren’t reporting any phishing attempts, because Area 1 was catching all phishing attempts before they reached our employees’ inboxes.”

Fast-forward to 2022, and Cloudflare has decided to splash its cash on the San Francisco-based outfit. The deal is worth approximately $162m, with 40-50 per cent of the price being in Cloudflare Class A common stock and the rest in cash. The deal is expected to close in the coming months, before the first half of 2022.

Cloudflare’s network blocks 86 billion cyber threats each day, according to the company. Area 1’s technology is a logical fit for its platform, particularly as part of Cloudflare’s Zero Trust push.

The acquisition is big one for the internet company, which increased its revenue for 2021 to $656.4m, a jump of 52 per cent from the previous year.

It also snapped up security company Vectrix earlier in February, although did not disclose the terms of the deal. ®