New cyber threats have shoved legacy antivirus systems into obsolescence. Polymorphic malware changes its profile as it attacks, sliding around pattern recognition-based defenses. Cyber defense firms are therefore developing new methods based on artificial intelligence.
Darktrace, one such firm that is using machine learning to identify and prevent attacks, takes a vaccination approach. Its Enterprise Immune System teaches networks to develop a virtual immunity to viruses through a series of small exposures. The system alerts a moderator when it sees suspicious activity and is even smart enough to take immediate, independent action until a human can help.
Darktrace just raised $75 million to expand into new markets after seeing unprecedented growth in the U.S., Latin America and Asia Pacific. That gives it a total valuation of $825 million.
The U.K.-founded startup (now based in Cambridge and San Francisco) saw 140 percent growth last year and has reached a total contract value of $200 million, with 3,000 customers worldwide. In other words, investors are on board with the “immunity” approach, and apparently so is everyone else.
Insight Venture Partners led the latest, Series D funding round with support from existing investors Summit Partners, KKR and TenEleven Ventures.
In tandem with new investments, Darktrace has also announced a new partnership with CITIC Telecom CPC, a Hong Kong-based telecom firm serving China and other areas of Asia. CITIC CPC was a Darktrace customer before joining forces in this strategic partnership. It is not an investor in Darktrace.
“As we have seen from the headlines, humans are consistently outpaced by increasingly automated threats,” Daniel Kwong, senior vice president of information technology and security services at CITIC Telecom CPC, told Tech Crunch. “Organizations increasingly recognize that traditional defenses focused on past threats only provide the most essential protection.”
Together, Darktrace and CITIC CPC hope to spread “next-generation cyber defense to businesses across Asia Pacific.”