MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

VeriSign Buys IDefense of Reston

A Reston security intelligence firm, iDefense, was acquired by VeriSign for about $40 million in cash. IDefense said it provides government agencies, financial services firms and other entities with information about network-based security threats through a multilingual network of 200 contributors in 30 countries who monitor the "cyber underground" and emerging software vulnerabilities.

VeriSign, based in Mountain View, Calif., provides infrastructure services for Internet and telecommunications networks.

CONTRACTS

Military Portal to Be Upgraded

Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, the largest U.S. defense contractor, received an order valued at $152 million to upgrade the Army's secure Internet portal, called Army Knowledge Online, to make it more reliable and cost-efficient.

The portal, with more than 1.8 million users worldwide, will improve access to applications for logistics, combat support and secure e-mail, Lockheed said. The Army wants to develop and maintain the portal to eventually link every soldier to a worldwide computer network.

VIDEO GAMES

Marvel Characters for Xbox

Microsoft will use Marvel Enterprises' superhero characters in video games played over the Internet using its new Xbox 360 game machine.

Marvel characters including Spider-Man and the X-Men will be used in "massively multiplayer online games," in which thousands of players can interact. Microsoft's game studio will publish the titles.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.