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SafeNet, Inc.
IndustryInformation security
FoundedTimonium, Maryland 1983 (1983)
HeadquartersBelcamp, Maryland, United States
Area served
ProductsEncryption, Semiconductor IP, Software Monetization, Software as a Service, Hardware Security Modules, Authentication, Security tokens
Number of employees
1,600 (2011)
DivisionsData Protection, Software Monetization

SafeNet, Inc. was an information security company based in Belcamp, Maryland, United States, which was acquired in August 2014 by the Dutch security company Gemalto. SafeNet's products are marketed under the SafeNet product brand, and include solutions for enterprise authentication, data encryption, and key management. SafeNet's software monetization products are sold under Gemalto's Sentinel brand.

SafeNet was notably one of the largest suppliers of encryption technology to the United States Government.[1]

On 8 August 2014, Gemalto announced that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the share capital of SafeNet from Vector Capital for US$890 million on a debt free/cash free basis.[2] A subsequent acquisition of Gemalto by French rival Thales Group was pending as of April 2018.[3]


  • 1983: SafeNet, Inc was founded in 1983 as Information Resource Engineering by two NSA engineers and one entrepreneur named Anthony A Caputo.
  • 1987: Information Resource Engineering renamed to IRE
  • 1989: IRE went public in an IPO. IRE's IPO raised $4 million
  • 1989: IRE listed in Nasdaq. IRE rapidly becomes the leader in banking communications security with seven of the top ten U.S. banks as customers and encryption devices used by SWIFT (global interbank transfer system). IRE's Zurich based subsidiary provided security for UBS and Swiss Canton interbank network.
  • 1994: IRE acquired Connective Strategies, Inc. Connective Strategies was co-founded by CEO Charles D. Brown and VP of Operations Gary L. McGreal. McGreal was formerly a Director at University of Southern California's computer science think-tank, Information Sciences Institute. Charles Brown installed the first Internet node used by the USAF in 1980 while serving as the liaison to the USAF Strategic Air Command for the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute under contract for DARPA's Internet conception program. Charles taught the thirteen directorates at SAC Headquarters how to use office automation from 1980 to 1982 and participated in early experiments at Strategic Air Command using TCP-IP based networks for airborne and tactical command and control applications. Charles later became the Liaison to Washington D.C. for USC-ISI at DARPA Headquarters.
  • 1995: IRE released the first commercial VPN system, called SafeNet. SafeNet was conceived by Charles Brown and quickly adopted by MCI-WorldCom and Vinton G. Cerf, then head of MIC-Worldcom's Data Network Architecture. SafeNet was specified by Gary L. McGreal, based on designs originally developed at NSA. Gary McGreal became VP of Marketing after the merger with IRE. Charles Brown served as EVP of Sales and Business Development and sold the VPN product into MCI and Cisco Systems. Charles Brown had worked closely with MCI VP, Vint Cerf while at SAC and MCI. Vint Cerf is best known as the co-designer of TCP-IP, the protocol suite used in the Internet. Other early customers included the NSA and the FBI.
  • 1996: MCI Communications launched the first commercial VPN service using SafeNet technology. This service produced recurring revenue from SafeNet's trusted third party secure DES key distribution center. IRE's NASDAQ listed stock rose 10 fold, and Anthony Caputo, then CEO, and Charles Brown raised $24 million in a secondary offering managed by Ferris Baker Watts. SafeNet was adopted by thirteen of the top fifteen U.S. banks within two years.
  • 2000: IRE renamed to SafeNet, Inc. after the VPN product line. Charles Brown acquired the rights to the SafeNet name for $75,000.
  • 2002: SafeNet acquired a Dutch company Securealink. With the collapse of the tech "bubble" SafeNet, as a public company with a strong sales channel, was able to acquire a series of promising security companies at deep discounts.
  • February 2003: SafeNet acquired Cylink and Raqia Networks
  • October 2003: SafeNet acquired the OEM business of SSH Communications Security[4]
  • March 2004: SafeNet acquired Rainbow Technologies
  • December 2004: SafeNet acquired Datakey, Inc
  • April 2005: SafeNet acquired DMDSecure B.V.
  • June 2005: SafeNet acquired MediaSentry
  • December 2005: SafeNet acquired Eracom Technologies AG
  • 2006: SafeNet was involved in the options backdating controversy. As a result, both the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer resigned, and in 2008 the company's former CFO was sentenced to six months in prison for manipulating employee stock options.[5][6][7]
  • April 2007: a Californian equity company Vector Capital bought the firm for $634 million, making it private[8]
  • April 2008: SafeNet acquired Ingrian Networks, Inc.
  • May 2008: SafeNet acquired Beep Science AS
  • March 2009: SafeNet parent company, Vector Capital acquired Aladdin Knowledge Systems[9]
  • April 2009: SafeNet sold MediaSentry to ArtistDirect
  • December 2009: SafeNet acquired Assured Decisions, LLC[10]
  • December 2012: SafeNet sold its Government Solutions business unit to Raytheon
  • August 2014: SafeNet announced it is to be acquired by Gemalto by the 4Q 2014[11]

Current and former subsidiaries[edit]

The former Rainbow Technologies subsidiary SafeNet Government Solutions, LLC formerly SafeNet Mykotronx is still based in Torrance, California with offices in Irvine, California and Columbia, Maryland.[12] The company was founded in 1979 as Myko Enterprises. It changed its name to Mykotronx, Inc in 1987 and merged with SafeNet as part of the SafeNet merger with Rainbow in 2004.[13] SafeNet Government Solutions, LLC has been operationally merged into SafeNet and the lines between the two organizations have been intentionally blurred due to financial reasons. SafeNet Government Solutions is no longer considered a subsidiary. SafeNet Government Solutions, LLC provides INFOSEC and COMSEC technology for the US government. The firm has an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract for its KIV-7 line of commercial off-the-shelf cryptographic devices that provide protection for digital and voice communications through TOP SECRET, used by agencies such as the NSA and the NRO.[14] Other products include the KOV-14 Fortezza Plus PC card which was developed as part of the NSA's NSSI program and is used on Secure Terminal Equipment.[15] They previously developed the clipper chip.[16][17]

In 2009, Vector Capital acquired Aladdin Knowledge Systems, and placed it under SafeNet with the annotation of 'under common management'. In 2010, the two companies were officially merged.


  1. ^ Roseanne Gerin (2005-04-10). "SafeNet wins DOD network security deal". Washington Technology Magazine. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
  2. ^ "Gemalto to acquire SafeNet, the worldwide leader in data and software protection". 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
  3. ^ Francois de Beaupuy; Marie Mawad (18 December 2017). "Thales Outflanks Atos With Surprise $5.6 Billion Gemalto Bid". Bloomberg.
  4. ^ "SSH sells its OEM business to SafeNet". 2003-10-14.
  5. ^ Jones/Associated, Dow (October 19, 2006). "SafeNet Is Roiled by Options Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
  6. ^ Graybow, Martha. "Ex-Safenet CFO gets prison term in options case".
  7. ^ "Cost of Backdating: Six Months, $1 Million". 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
  8. ^ "SafeNet sold, goes private". 2007-04-13.
  9. ^ "Aladdin Knowledge Systems Completes Merger with Vector Capital Affiliate" (PDF). 2009-03-24.
  10. ^ "SafeNet to Acquire Assured Decisions, LLC". 2009-12-23.
  11. ^ "Gemalto Buys SafeNet for $890 Million". 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2015-01-09.
  12. ^ "SafeNet Offices - North America".
  13. ^ "About SafeNet Mykotronx".
  14. ^ "KIV-7 Family". Federation of American Scientists.
  15. ^ "Mykotronx wins defense card work".

External links[edit]