F-Secure buys Little Flocker to upgrade its Mac security play

Security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski revealed he was joining Apple earlier this month, and now it turns out his Mac security app, Little Flocker, has gone awol because it’s joining F-Secure.

The security firm said today it has acquired the behavioral based analysis app for Macs and macOS, which monitors apps that attempt to access confidential files and system resources to flag up and block malware. It also detects and blocks Mac ransomware.

The acquisition price for Little Flocker has not been disclosed.

F-Secure said Little Flocker will be built into a new product it’s releasing, called Xfence, which will offer “advanced behavioural Mac protection for both corporate and consumer customers” — vs the traditional signature-based approach for detecting Mac malware that it argues can’t pick up on “modern targeted attacks”.

For businesses, the core Little Flocker technology will be combined with F-Secure’s security cloud and packaged into its Protection Service for Business: a security solution with centrally managed computer, mobile and server security with integrated patch management and mobile device management.

While consumers customers will be able to tap into it as part of F-Secure Safe, it’s multi-device security offering.

F-Secure also says it will continue to offer the tool (rebranded as Xfence) for “tech savvy users” to download — noting this will be available in a free beta “soon” via its website.

Janne Pirttilahti, VP R&D of F-Secure’s corporate cyber security business unit confirmed to TechCrunch that while the Little Flocker app has already been withdrawn the standalone version of Xfence will contain “the same features and functionalities”. He said the first release for this is being targeted by the end of next week.

He added that existing uses of Little Flocker will continue to have the perpetual license which they’ve paid for, and said they will later be offered F-Secure Safe “once we’ve integrated the technology”.

While Macs do not attracted the vast volume of malware that PCs do, F-Secure argues the platform is of increasing interest to hackers owning to the popularity of Macs among senior-level employees and other high-value targets.

“Macs have become an appealing entry point for attackers seeking to penetrate organisations. With Little Flocker’s technology, we will enhance the behavioural blocking capabilities in our Mac endpoint protection to stop modern adversaries cold,” said Mika Ståhlberg, chief technology officer at F-Secure, in a statement.