After spending 2 years under the radar, Israeli cyber-security startup OPORA is finally coming out of the shadows with a $7 million investment from the JVP fund. With former Shin-Bet Director Yuval Diskin and his former cyber intelligence specialist Noam Jolles leading the way, the company aims to launch preemptive containment of cyber-attacks before they even occur.

Transitioning from defense to offense

Using a more offensive approach, OPORA’s focus is to use preemptive measures to contain cyber-attacks. The company’s SaaS platform enables consistent and real-time tracking of cyber-criminals in the early stages of planning by mapping the attack infrastructure all the way to the threat itself. The company claims that they can identify the attackers’ readiness at various stages of planning, while also evaluating the threat level. This innovative ability revolutionizes the industry approach, as most cyber-security companies today, only step into action while the attack is at full force and the hacker is already inside the network, with containment usually coming far too late.

To preemptively contain threats in time, the system collects intelligence on the attacker’s online activity from around the web. As a result, the organization receives intelligence about the threat and thus knows how to prioritize and contain the attacks, and in most cases even preemptively block it before it penetrates an organization’s network. The company explains that its software collects data from different technical sources (from outside of the organizational network, i.e DNS) and then runs cognitive and behavioral models in order to identify threat activity and classify the patterns of specific attackers. “In fact, the product is not information-based, but rather uses data combined with the product which completes the intelligence circle - collecting, identifying, analyzing, and then sends its finding to the customer’s network.”

CO-founder Noam Jolles: “Notice the disparity between the number of brilliant and talented women in cyber compared to the number of female entrepreneurs in the industry”

OPORA was founded by former Shin-Bet Director and company President, Yuval Diskin; Noam Jolles, Chief Intelligence Officer, who has served for the past 18 years at various positions in the national security sector; and CEO Chris Bell, who was one of Securonix’s co-founders.  

It’s no secret that it’s pretty uncommon to see women entrepreneurs in the startup arena. Though, when focusing on cyber startups with women founders in particular, well, this is definitely a rare vision. While speaking to Geektime, OPORA’s senior technologist, Noam Jolles agrees with the previous statement: “I also notice the disparity between the amount of brilliant and talented women in cyber compared to the number of female entrepreneurs in the industry. I don’t really have an answer as to why this happens, even though I’m very much aware of it.” According to Jolles, her joining OPORA’s entrepreneurial team was actually accompanied by other worries: “The problem was not joining two men, it was joining two men who I admire, who had also previously served as my commanding officers. If I often experienced special treatment compared to the other co-founders, it was mostly around the or rank gaps and the time it took to me to find myself in this dynamic. I want to note that among the founders we all stand on equal pedestals, and never, not even once had I felt any sort of discrimination.” Jolles encourages other women to dare: “There may be many that will argue otherwise, but I do think that women need a lot of courage to find their place and voice as entrepreneurs.”  

Jolles tells that their system has already prevented various threats, including uncovering the location of attackers: “We had a suspicious domain pop up, a phishing domain, easily detectable, it uses the exact name of the customer. Allegedly, a standard protocol. The customer was relatively calm, the domain was not active yet and on his side, the event was familiar and mostly attacked his customers. He also received the info from other suppliers. Though, with our model, the domain was linked to a much wider infrastructure and a specific attacker, who cleverly doesn’t deploy phishing threats on individuals. We insisted that the attack will be different than expected and it will come fast. As a result, the client tightened up all relevant securities, and indeed, just a few hours later the domain along with other connected domains was identified and transferred to the client. It was a BEC threat targeted at dozens of employees (fraud through email, trying to get the organization’s employees to perform different actions via social engineering). Thanks to our system, the threat was contained and blocked.”

Yuval Diskin told Geektime that the company is not based on Shin-Bet technologies: “The only thing we took from our past is the preemptive and initiative approach, meaning the idea that there is a need to find a preemptive solution before the worse happens.” Diskin adds: “All the rest is our labor and development, from the idea to the methodology and down to the application of the solution.”

JVP Chairman and founder, Erel Margalit added: “It’s about time to move from defense to offense and track these cyber-attackers on their own turf before the carry out their mission.” Margalit also added: “Israel has introduced the 3 paradigms to the global cyber industry, the first stage was Checkpoint’s firewall, the second stage was CyberArk’s threat containment from the inside solution, and the third stage is OPORA which takes the battle to the attacker’s home court, defusing the threat before it even occurs. OPORA changes the common cyber perspective, transitioning from defense to offense.”