Investments

ZeroFOX Notches $74M To Tackle Cyberattacks

cybersecurity

Cybersecurity firm ZeroFOX closed a $74 million funding round led by Intel Capital that will be used to advance cyberattack detection and remediation, VentureBeat reported on Thursday (Feb. 20).

Existing investors NEA, Highland Capital Partners, Redline Capital Management, Hercules Capital and Core Capital also participated in the funding round. This latest funding follows a $40 million Series C in July 2017 and a $27 million Series B in December 2015. With the new funding, the Baltimore, Maryland startup has raised over $150 million. 

The new capital will help ZeroFOX advance its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities.

A recent study found that a hacker attacks every 39 seconds, affecting one in three Americans annually, the news outlet noted. The Clark School study at the University of Maryland estimates that 43 percent of fraudsters hit small businesses. In 2018, cybercriminals made off with half a billion personal records, a 126 percent jump from the previous year.

ZeroFOX was co-founded by five entrepreneurs — Chris Cullison, Evan Blair, Hillary Herlehy, James Foster and Robert Francis — and rebranded from the name Riskive in early 2013. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup offers a suite of tools to help businesses detect risks — such as phishing, malicious files, link sharing and malware — on social media and digital channels.

Foster, the firm’s CEO, previously headed R&D at Foundstone and Guardent.

“ZeroFOX is dedicated to helping customers proactively address threats initiated by today’s cyber agitators that occur across a quickly growing publicly-accessible attack surface. This new class of threats are more difficult to identify and even tougher to remediate,” said Foster in an announcement of the funding. “The challenges of both volume and sophistication of these types of attacks are accelerating at a pace that the security industry has never seen before; entire businesses and industries are at risk due to the gaps in security coverage unaddressed by legacy security vendors.”

ZeroFOX was created at the startup incubator Betamore in Baltimore’s Federal Hill neighborhood. By 2016, the startup was ready for a bigger space and moved to the former Pabst Brewing plant in South Baltimore where it onboarded numerous clients, such as Hootsuite, FirstCommand, Hawaii National bank, Umbro and Bath Spa University.

The startup’s natural language processing systems and real-time object, image, and video classifiers work together to gauge the threat of cyberattacks. The company uses a rating system that aligns with the severity of risks. 

ZeroFOX also offers an election protection product for political candidates, dignitaries and campaigns. Foster said the tool will protect against threats targeting election-related activities. The subscription safeguards digital and social media assets and finds threats, in part by flagging suspect messages and removing malicious domains.

In financial services, there is a high demand for ease of use and security, even for business customers. But for many service providers, achieving one can often mean compromising the other.

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