Zynamics, a company that makes security analysis tools, announced that it has been acquired by Google. Zynamics specializes in tools for reverse engineering binary executables - in other words, analyzing software for which no source code is available.Today
Zynamics is probably best known for BinDiff, a tool for sniffing out the differences between different executable files. It's used by third-party security researchers figure out what vulnerabilities were fixed after a piece of software receives a security patch. However, Thomas Ptacek of Matasano Security speculates on Hacker News that Google acquired the company either for its VxClass product or purely as a talent acquisition. Judging by the statement a Google spokesperson gave TechCrunch, it's likely both.
We're delighted to have the zynamics team aboard and hope their tools and skills in fighting malware will help us better protect Google's users...The zynamics team will continue to develop innovative ways of applying their software analysis tools to protect users from malicious software. Their goals overlap with the commitment that Google has already made to ensure online security for our users.
VxClass automatically classifies malware into "families" in order to create signature files that can be used in detection. It could be that Google wants to use VxClass to improve its Safe Browing API, which is used to block malware in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and is used by the open source antivirus application ClamWin. TechCrunch broke the story and has confirmed the acquisition with Google.
In recent months Barracuda Networks and Symantec have both called out Google. They both released reports finding extensive amounts of malware indexed in its search engine. And a study by NSS Labs also found that Google Chrome blocked less malware than Internet Explorer. It makes sense that the company would be looking for a way to improve in this area by acquiring new technology and talent.
Zynamics, originally known as SABRE Security, was founded by Halvar Flake in 2004.