Apple Acquires AuthenTec
July 27, 2012

Apple Buys Security Firm AuthenTec

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

The battle between Apple and Samsung just got a little more interesting as it´s just been discovered that Apple has bought mobile security company AuthenTec.

According to a lengthy 10K form filed today, Apple acquired the company for a cool $356 million earlier this week.

“On July 26, 2012, AuthenTec, entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger with Apple, and Bryce Acquisition Corporation, a Delaware corporation and a wholly owned subsidiary of Parent, providing for the merger of Merger Sub into the Company, with the Company surviving the Merger as a wholly owned subsidiary of Parent. The Merger Agreement was unanimously approved by the Company´s Board of Directors.”

AuthenTec owns 200 patents covering a variety of security measures, including everything from fingerprint sensors and sensor packaging to software and end use. From secure networking technologies to content and data protection and even fingerprint security, AuthenTec covers a wide swath of security measures.

Of course, Apple has yet to announce what they plan to do with this security company now that they own it.

Some are suggesting that Apple will take some of the technologies created by AuthenTec to boost the security in their computers and smartphones. Apple has long been seen as the computer company to go to if you wanted to avoid viruses. Although this was a misnomer, it didn´t stop the reputation from sticking to Apple.

As their presence has continued to grow, more attacks have befallen the Mac line, most notably the backdoor.flashback trojan which enlisted at least 600,000 Macs in a massive botnet. Some of these Macs were located at Apple headquarters, a particularly embarrassing fact for the Cupertino company.

Now as Apple faces increased scrutiny over the way they handle their security, they could likely implement some of AuthenTec´s technologies in their devices.

In a more juicy twist, it´s also been noted that AuthenTec recently entered into an agreement with none other than Apple frenemies Samsung to implement some secure VPNs on their Android hardware, such as their popular Galaxy line.

Now, Apple owns these patents used by Samsung and effectively has them where they want them.

It seems most likely that Apple will take both approaches, using their new buy to boost their security while earning some cash from other companies like Samsung as they license out the patents.

The security of both Android and iOS platforms have been called into question lately, as network security experts and hackers alike have been exposing vulnerabilities on both platforms at this week´s Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.

For instance, hacker extraordinaire Charlie Miller was able to demo an NFC vulnerability in Samsung´s Galaxy S phones, using a malicious chip to run code on a user´s smartphone without their permission.

Apple´s platform security manager, Dallas De Atley, took the stage yesterday to discuss matters of iOS security, but according to one of the attendees, left the audience wanting more, saying his talk was “very, very meh.”