Israeli TopSpin whirls up a $7M Series A for honeypot cyber security solutions
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Overhead shot of the wasps around a spilled sweet jam and fork. Photo credit: victorass / Shutterstock

Overhead shot of the wasps around a spilled sweet jam and fork. Photo credit: victorass / Shutterstock

This cyber security company wants to make life very tough for hackers, catching the trickiest of attackers

The Israeli threat detection and diversion team at TopSpin announced on Monday that they succeeded in raising a $7 million Series A.

Participating in the round were a number of well known private players in the cyber security industry, including former seed round investors Shlomo Kramer and Mickey Boodaei, who were joined this time around by Zohar Zisapel and Rakesh Loonkar.

The Herzliya-based company was founded in 2013 by CEO Doron Kolton. With a team of roughly 20, they have already achieved a working customer base.

TopSpin provides a two-fold B2B solution for tackling malware. The first section relates to the misdirection within the network that is aimed to confuse and bog down an attacker, showing them enticing collections of conjured data. By directing their focus to the more easily found fake data, a.k.a the honeypot, a company can keep their real cache safer. This way, the hacker is sent on a wild goose chase through a system, unsure of what is really valuable or not.

The second half of their product is their ability to catch an attack that might otherwise go unnoticed while it started harmful activities.

The idea for the company came from a set of meetings with Mickey Boodaei, who has had a lot of success in driving the direction of companies. Kolton tells Geektime that, ”Initially we wanted to solve the problem of malware or infected assets inside the organization and most of the solutions try to catch them using signatures like bad known domains or IP addresses. These kinds of matching technology are unable to identify new kinds of attacks.”

“We are the only one in this segment that on top of automatically distributing honeypots and breadcrumbs across an entire organization,” says Kolton. “We deeply analyze all the information flowing in and out of the network in order to detect the communication of the malware with the command and control servers and the exfiltration of data from the organization.”

Kolton explains that when the sophisticated analysis is combined with the honeypot and correlated with the different malware activities, “It gives a much better picture of the malware’s activities, helping us to identify and mitigate the damage sooner rather than later.”

He cites their ability to separate automatic communication channels from user’s activities as an element that helps them stand out from their competition. “This gives great visibility to the automatic communication channels that the organization is using,” says Kolton, adding that, “This is very important for the organization to see that their security policy is being enforced.”

Mitigation vs Intrusion prevention systems

One of the more interesting trends that has risen to prevalence in recent years in the security industry is that of mitigation rather than simply the prevention of attacks. Companies do their best to ensure that their outer walls put up a good defense, but understand that some talented individuals will always find ways inside the castle.

By presenting the attacker with a buffet of fake treasure troves, the home team stands a better chance at keeping their sensitive data secure. In many of the hacks that have come to light recently, including the Juniper Networks attack, an intruder can enter a system and stay there undetected for long periods of time, slowly sucking out information like a near dormant parasite.

Possessing the capabilities to pick up on a silent attacker who has made it past the gates can prove to be just as (if not more) important than a noisy singular wrecking ball like a DDOS.

Stacking up to the competition

The field of honeypot style security services is growing as a part of the overall toolkit for minimizing damages from hackers, and are attracting funding from some very smart people.

Back in October, another Israeli firm called Illusive Networks also rose up in this sector, pulling in a $22 million Series B. This came after the Team8-birthed company had raised a $5 million Series A only four months earlier in June. Other startups like TrapX, Attivo Networks, and Cymmetria all bring their own perspectives and special sauce to the the table, spicing up an already hot market.

For TopSpin to attract their current round of investors, then they must be doing something right at this point. All four have had a leadership role in bringing up some of the most influential companies like Check Point, Palo Alto Networks, Trusteer, and others. While for these individuals a combined investment of $7 million is not exactly an all-in bet, it does fall in the respectable range of investments for these companies, with Illusive’s $5 million and TrapX’s $9 million respectively

While there is a high demand for increased cyber security capabilities, with honeypot being amongst them, it is worth asking whether this space is becoming over crowded. It would seem that in order to succeed, these players are going to have to bring not only their A game, but other aspects as well to win over customers.

Following the close of this round, Kolton tells Geektime that they are heading into the U.S. market to build their sales and marketing team, growing their customer base.

Featured image credit: victorass / Shutterstock

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Gabriel Avner

About Gabriel Avner


Gabriel has an unhealthy obsession with new messaging apps, social media and pretty much anything coming out of Apple. An experienced security and conflict consultant, he has written for The Diplomatic Club, the Marine War College, and covers military affairs with TLV1 radio. He mostly enjoys reading articles wherever his ADD leads him to and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. EEED 44D4 B8F4 24BE F77E 2DEA 0243 CBD1 3F7C F4B6

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