Israeli cyber startup Illusive Networks, which developed a platform that launches deceptive measures in face of cyber-attack, announced a $24 million Series B funding round. The investment was led by both new and existing investors such as Spring Marker, Lake Equity Partners, NEA, Bessemer Venture Partners, Innovation Endeavors, Cisco, Microsoft, and Citi. Along with the funding news, Illusive also announced a partnership with Microsoft, which will integrate its deceptive security software and offer it on Azure.

COVID increased demand

Illusive Networks’s Deceptive Everywhere technology prevents continuous and APT-focused attacks by using a cyber magician’s full bag of deception tricks.  By deploying a virtual “sleight of hand” across an organization’s IT network, the hackers are tricked into thinking that they are getting away with a legit hack, but in reality, they are just following Illusive Networks’s deceptive breadcrumbs.

Once the hackers fall into the web of deception and begin acting all the false data, then Illusive’s system flags and reports the attack in real-time to security specialists, who can nip the attack during its early stages.

CEO Ofer Israeli tells Geektime that Illusive had identified numerous challenges in the industry following the migration to work-from-home due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. “We see that an organization’s attack surface has expanded exponentially, which hackers use to easily exploit and breach with less resistance. In addition, a lot of the current threat hunting systems are less effective and mostly create a lot of noise, like the anomaly detection system for example - based on that the system learns what is normal, though as we find during COVID reality, not much is normal anymore,” said Israeli.

Israeli notes that following the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the company identified the growing need for its products, leading to an increase in sales. He continues to tell that “The whole work-from-home is not an easy transition for everyone to handle. Although, in comparison to what I’m seeing in the market, I think we are in a good place, and our team is focused and ready for any occasion.”

Did you feel that COVID impacted the fundraising process?

“The only thing we found to be more complicated was building relationships with investors when you can’t meet face-to-face. We keep in contact with different investors and this round mostly came together due to a previous relationship with the investing parties.”

Illusive Networks was founded in 2014 as part of the Team8 thinktank by CEO Ofer Israeli and Chairman Nadav Zafrir. To date, the company has raised a total of $58 million and employs 100 people, with 60 of them stationed in a Tel Aviv based R&D center and the rest at the U.S. headquarters. Currently, the company is in the midst of recruiting an additional 30 employees for various departments. Illusive states that the funds will be used for accelerating growth by expanding sales and marketing efforts, as well as in further product development.