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Brit security startup turns to France for help

Darktrace plucks GCHQ bloke Andrew France for top job, Sacre Bleu!

GCHQ Oakley Sign

British security startup Darktrace has nabbed Andrew France, the former head of the UK government security snoops at GCHQ, as its chief executive.

"We are delighted to welcome Andrew to the team," said Darktrace's chief operating officer Stephen Huxter in a canned statement. "Andrew's experience of national cyber operations and his understanding of this new era of threat are second-to-none, strengthening Darktrace's position as the leader in intelligence-led, Behavioural Cyber Defence."

Darktrace's approach uses a marketing term technology called "Behavioral Cyber Defense" which uses some complex boffin-tastic Bayesian inference and machine learning approaches to process data and spot net-nasties.

Put simply, the tech allows the company to process streams of changing information very quickly and alert customers to possible threats as patterns change.

Darktrace says its technology "automatically forms understanding of normal behavior, works from day one, self-learns, operates in real time, tracks evolving patterns of life, calculates probability of cyber compromise, [and] builds overview of entire network activity".

The company does not disclose further information about its tech, but judging by the descriptions a deployment will likely be an agent-based approach that sees a multitude of software agents slurp low-level information from across a company's gear.

The Bayesian boffins are funded partly by former Autonomy chief Mike Lynch, whose own company employed Bayesian inference tech.

Though Andrew France brings a wealth of experience to the job, some people may find the revolving door between the top echelons of the intelligence industry and private cyber-security companies disquieting, especially given recent revelations about GCHQ and the NSA from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

One thing that backs up France's spying credentials – a Google search yielded no further information about the chap. ®

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