Nayeem Islam spent practically 11 years with chipmaker Qualcomm, the place he based its Silicon Valley-based R&D facility, recruited its complete group and oversaw analysis on all points of safety, together with making use of machine studying on cell gadgets and within the community to detect threats early.
Islam was nothing if not prolific, growing a system for on-device machine studying for malware detection, libraries for optimizing deep studying algorithms on cell gadgets, and techniques for parallel compute on cell gadgets, amongst different issues.
In truth, due to his work, he additionally noticed a giant alternative in higher defending enterprises from cyberthreats by deep neural networks which can be able to processing each uncooked byte inside a file and that may uncover complicated relations inside datasets. So two years in the past, Islam and Saumitra Das, a former Qualcomm engineer with 330 patents to his identify and one other 450 pending, struck out on their very own to create Blue Hexagon, a now 30-person Sunnyvale, Ca.-based firm that’s immediately disclosing that it has raised $31 million in funding from Benchmark and Altimeter.
The funding comes roughly one yr after Benchmark quietly led a $6 million Series A spherical for the agency.
So what has traders so bullish on the corporate’s prospects, other than its credentialed founders? In a phrase, pace, seemingly. According to Islam, Blue Hexagon has created a real-time, cybersecurity platform that he says can detect identified and unknown threats at first encounter, then block them in “sub seconds” so the malware doesn’t have time to unfold.
The business has to maneuver to real-time detection, he says, explaining that 4 new and distinctive malware samples is launched each second, and arguing that conventional safety strategies can’t preserve tempo. He says that sandboxes, for instance, that means restricted environments that quarantine cyber threats and preserve them from breaching delicate recordsdata, are now not cutting-edge. The similar is true of signatures, that are mathematical methods used to validate the authenticity and integrity of a message, software program or digital doc however are being bypassed by quickly evolving new malware.
Only time will inform if Blue Hexagon is way extra able to figuring out and stopping attackers, as Islam insists is the case. It is just not the only startup to use deep studying to cybersecurity, although it’s definitely one of many first. Critics, some who’re defending their very own company pursuits, additionally fear that hackers can foil safety algorithms by focusing on the warning flags they look for.
Still, with its know-how, its group, and its pitch, Blue Hexagon is beginning to persuade not solely high traders of its deserves, however a rising — and broad — base of shoppers, says Islam. “Everyone has this issue, from large banks, insurance companies, state and local governments. Nowhere do you find someone who doesn’t need to be protected.”
Blue Hexagon may even assist clients which can be already beneath assault, Islam says, even when it isn’t ultimate. “Our goal is to catch an attack as early in the kill chain as possible. But if someone is already being attacked, we’ll see that activity and pinpoint it and be able to turn it off.”
Some injury might already be executed, after all. It’s another excuse to plan forward, he says. “With automated attacks, you need automated techniques.” Deep studying, he insists, “is one way of leveling the playing field against attackers.”