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Thursday, 20 May 2010 14:46

Symantec buys bits of Verisign

Written by Nick Farell

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AV outfit
Symantec have written a $1.28 billion cheque to buy a division of VeriSign. The authentication outfit, best known for its antivirus software for personal computers, wants to secure more things and has been buying shedloads lately.

VeriSign, whose brand is ubiquitous on the Web for protecting online transactions, wants to secure fewer things and is finding its traffic managing division a bit of a spare leg. It collects fees for registering domain names and has been purging divisions like this for three years. VeriSign had sold more than a dozen businesses since 2007 for a total of nearly $1 billion. Some were curious choices for VeriSign to have in the first place, such as a division that did billing services for telecommunications companies and another that sold ring tones and insurance for mobile phones.

What Symantec gets out of the VeriSign deal is one of the Web's best-known brand names for security. VeriSign's logo is ubiquitous on websites that have bought its security technology. The VeriSign division that Symantec is buying sells "certificates" to websites that want protection for their customers' data. The Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, certificates allow data to be encrypted between a user's browser and a website's servers. A padlock icon appears on a user's browser when that technology is being used.

Nick Farell

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