Israeli Cybereason has reason to rejoice: SoftBank invested $50M
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Founders Yossi Naar, Lior Div, Yonatan Amit. Photo Credit: Louiz Green

Founders Yossi Naar, Lior Div, Yonatan Amit. Photo Credit: Louiz Green

Among a sea of cybersecurity firms claiming to detect and alleviate threats automatically, what makes Cybereason so special?

Israeli startup Cybereason is now one of the fastest rising cybersecurity startups in the country, which is saying something. On Monday, it announced that it raised a $59 million Series C round, with $50 million coming from lead investor Japanese SoftBank and the rest from existing investors CRV and Spark Capital. In taking this bold step, SoftBank gains the role of primary distributor for Cybereason’s platform to the Japanese market.

In May, the three-year-old company raised a $25 million Series B, with approximately $10 million of that investment from American defense contractor Lockheed Martin. That puts the company’s total funding to date at $88.6 million, $75 million of which it has raised in the last half a year.

What makes Cybereason so special?

The main differentiation between Cybereason and other cybersecurity outfits is its comprehensive attack mapping tool, which determines the exact timeline of an attack. This includes details on the information that a hacker was able to extract at any moment during their infiltration of a system, helping show an attacker’s story rather than merely the existence of a virus. Considering an average attack can run for 210 days according to the company, it is crucial to determine suspicious patterns early. Their endpoint detection and response platform also can react to attacks automatically, which is quite a difficult feat given the challenge of avoiding false negatives or positives without human monitoring.

They are also able to identify suspicious patterns in both cloud and offline systems, which is another rarity, through its Malop Hunting Engine. The information the engine gathers is then stored for machine learning analysis, which detects unusual patterns that could signal non-signature based attacks.

This machine learning capacity is part of what led SoftBank to invest so much in Cybereason. Amane Kito, Chief Information Officer of SoftBank Corp., explained in a statement, “What makes Cybereason stand out above hundreds of security startups is its transformational approach to cybersecurity, which leverages machine learning and behavioral analytics to detect and thwart even the most advanced cyber threats.”

Both SoftBank and Lockheed Martin indicated that they invested in Cybereason after seeing the value the platform provided to them. As Cybereason’s CEO Lior Div told the Jerusalem Post after Lockheed invested in them, “When we approached them as a potential customer, their first response was ‘we’ve already seen it all,’…Once they started to test it, the conversation changed dramatically.”

Speaking to Geektime, Div said that similarly, they approached SoftBank as a potential customer and after they saw its value, they decided not only to use the platform, but also to “invest and partner with Cybereason to launch a joint offering in Japan in 2016.”

To demonstrate its solution’s capabilities, Div told us about one recent attack they caught. “We recently detected an advanced attack on one of our customer’s sites in which the attackers hacked into a common Microsoft webmail server, giving them complete control of all the company’s user credentials. This allowed the hackers to persist for several months without being detected. A day after initiating a trial of the Cybereason platform, the system detected the attack and allowed our customer to fully remediate this threat.”

The company, which was co-founded in 2012 by Yossi Naar, Lior Div, and Yonatan Amit, now has offices in Boston, Tel Aviv, and Japan. Following this round, the company plans to focus on expanding to different regions as they continue to improve their extensive cyber security solutions.

*Update at 9:25 p.m. IST, October 13. We added CEO Lior Div’s quotes after the article was originally published. 

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Laura Rosbrow-Telem

About Laura Rosbrow-Telem


I am a social entrepreneurship enthusiast: This is what happens when a former social worker becomes a tech journalist. I mostly write about startups, technology, peace and justice issues, cultural topics, and personal stuff. Before Geektime, I was an editor at the Jerusalem Post and Mic.

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