Feeds

Cyber-security startup to flash major Android soft spots at RSA

Ex-McAfee bods grab $26m to take on hackers

Top three mobile application threats

Three big-hitters in the world of cyber security have launched a firm that intends to unmask hackers and their motives, and they've scooped up $26m to get it started. As one of its first acts, CrowdStrike plans to unveil an overview of Android's weak spots in a demo at the RSA on 29 Feb.

CrowdStrike launched in "stealth-mode" last week. The firm is headed up by George Kurtz, former McAfee CTO. Dmitri Alperovitch, formerly threat research veep at McAfee, will be CrowdStrike's CTO and Gregg Marston, former FoundStone CFO, will be the new firm's CFO. Investors Warburg Pincus, which have employed Kurtz since November, have pumped in a cool $26m into the enterprise to help it hire in talent.

New strategy

Promising a "new strategy" on cyber security, CrowdStrike said it would home in on the people behind malware rather than the software itself in a bid to protect companies and government from hackers at the highest level.

"The person or organization pulling the trigger (or deploying the malware) is the one that you ultimately need to focus on. The type of gun or ammunition they may be using is interesting, but in most cases not strategically relevant," Kurtz wrote in a blog announcing the launch.

These companies don’t have a malware problem, they have an adversary problem.

Instead of endlessly patching flaws, Kurtz argues, anti-hackers should target the soft mistake-prone humans behind the malware:

Attackers are creatures of habit and while they are fast to change their weapons, they are slow to change their methods. By identifying the adversary and revealing their unique Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) ie, modus operandi, we can hit them where it counts – at the human-dependent and not easily scalable parts of their operations.

Targeting the hacker, not just the hack

It sounds good, but we weren't sure exactly how a CrowdStrike product would actually work. We asked Kurtz and Alperovitch:

"We will not look to replace firewalls, these existing companies will continue to provide value," said Kurtz. He stressed that it was valuable for companies to know who was attacking them and why, citing the example of a company he'd helped last year which had come under a heavy attack from competitors that had filched its loosely protected internal emails.

"The company had been protecting their financial information," he explained, but that wasn't what the hackers were after. "It was not info that any company would have expected to be hacked; the hackers were taking emails and internal messages, and handing them over to competitors."

The hack resulted in a significant intellectual property loss as competitors got a lead on confidential information about future developments and deals.

As for the end product, George was reluctant to drop many details about what a CrowdStrike report would look like: "It's not a static report, it's not a powerpoint, it's dynamic thing," he told us.

New hires

Kurtz's previous research into mobile security – particularly into mobile Remote Access Tools (RATs) – means that Crowdstrike will have a strong focus on the security of mobile devices and by crunching big data, Crowdstrike aims to gain insights that other security firms can't see.

Kurtz said that with its launch, CrowdStrike wanted to get word out that they were looking for fresh talent. "[We're letting] people know that we're a company and we're looking for the best and brightest."

CrowdStrike expects to be up and running and landing clients in the second half of 2012. We'll keep you updated. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Canadian taxman says hundreds pierced by Heartbleed SSL skewer
900 social insurance numbers nicked, says revenue watchman
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Burnt out on patches this month? Oracle's got 104 MORE fixes for you
Mass patch for issues across its software catalog
Reddit users discover iOS malware threat
'Unflod Baby Panda' looks to snatch Apple IDs
Oracle working on at least 13 Heartbleed fixes
Big Red's cloud is safe and Oracle Linux 6 has been patched, but Java has some issues
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.