The Future of Cybersecurity: It's a Matter of Trust, Says Bit9's CEO

08/06/12
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Leader of Only Company to Stop Both the Flame Malware and RSA Breach Tells National Media That Today’s Antivirus Software “Can’t Stop the Bad Guys”

August 6, 2012 - Waltham, Mass. - Patrick Morley, chief executive officer of Bit9, the global leader in Advanced Threat Protection, says “a new approach is required” to successfully defend against the escalating number and complexity of cybersecurity threats in the world today. Morley recently addressed the growing cybersecurity challenges facing global businesses in interviews with the The New York Times and Bloomberg TV.

Bit9 is the only security company to stop both the Flame malware and the RSA breach attack, even before they were identified by traditional/legacy antivirus companies. Bit9’s unique approach to stopping advanced persistent threats (APTs) is to only allow trusted software to run on servers and endpoints. In the case of Flame, Morley said, 43 different antivirus solutions were unable to stop it because it was an unknown, “zero-day attack,” so it wasn’t on any list of bad software.

But that did not prevent Bit9 from successfully stopping it before it wreaked havoc on a customer’s business. “We didn’t know Flame was bad, but we knew that Flame was not to be trusted,” so Bit9’s software prevented the malicious software from accessing any endpoints or servers, Morley explained to Bloomberg. “We’re on the machine, watching everything going on and if we do not trust the software that tries to run, we’ll stop it.” With this approach, even new, unidentified threats can be successfully thwarted. Morley said traditional security software products “try and look for all the bad things in the world” and attempt to stop them. “The challenge with that is that daily there is an overwhelming amount of malware being produced by multiple different organizations and it’s impossible to try to stop all the bad guys.”

With the increasing number of high-profile data breaches, companies are more aware than ever about their vulnerabilities against unknown threats. In 2010, Google’s password system was breached. At that point, according to The New York Times, top-level executives began to pay more attention to securing their intellectual property. “In boardrooms,” Morley said, “executives lifted their heads and asked, ‘Are we O.K.?’”

As a result of this sea change, Bit9 has seen its business expand significantly: “We’ve grown 100 percent every year for the past two years,” Morley told The Times.

This widespread awareness of cybersecurity threats also has led to a significant investment in security software companies by venture capital firms, according to The Times.

In July 2012, Bit9 received $34.5 million in Series D funding, led by new investment partner Sequoia Capital. Existing investors Atlas Venture, Highland Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and .406 Ventures also participated in the round. Bit9 will use this capital to fund new product development efforts and expand sales and marketing capabilities to address the market’s growing demand for trust-based endpoint and server security technology.

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