Startup Secures $12.9M To Weed Out Corporate Hackers

Watson for Cyber Security

Investors have signaled some new support for enterprise security.

U.S.-based Pwnie Express announced a $12.9 million funding round, reports said on Wednesday (May 11). The Series B funding was led by Ascent Venture Partners, along with existing backers MassMutual Ventures, .406 Ventures, Fairhaven Capital and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies.

According to reports, Pwnie has now raised a total of $20 million.

The company provides technology for corporations to detect if unauthorized devices are using a firm’s network. In an interview with Xconomy, Pwnie CEO Paul Paget said the hardware and software created by his company are part of the industry overhaul of enterprise security.

“Everything we learned about how to secure an organization is being totally undermined by this shift in the ownership of computer assets,” he told the outlet. “It’s going to change dramatically, in the next three to five years, how security is done inside organizations.”

The biggest propeller of this change is the Bring Your Own Device movement, which lowers the barrier for outside, unfamiliar devices — from smartphones and printers to wireless routers — to enter a company’s network.

It also lowers the barrier for data-stealing devices to enter the network, the executive said.

Paget pointed to the rise of corporate cyberattackers using devices connected to the Internet of Things as a backdoor into corporate networks. Standard office printers are some of the most common devices that can provide an entry point for cyberthieves, he said.

Reports said Pwnie’s flagship product provides a sensor in the workplace that detects unauthorized devices, wired or wireless, within the company network. It’s looped into software that provides alerts to corporate IT and security teams if a device is detected.

The company says its current customer base includes banks, government organizations and retail and health care firms, among others.