The GCIS Disrupt 8 award honors very early stage cybersecurity startups that have demonstrated substantial promise in the development of disruptive innovation in cybersecurity. The technologies of the winners are broad, including a new type of homomorphic encryption, a way to eliminate “false positives” of suspected cyber attacks, and innovative perspectives on the impending revolution in quantum computing.
This year’s winners came from the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel. Two of the companies are led by former US intelligence engineers and were originally housed at DataTribe, a cybersecurity startup “foundry” in nearby Fulton, Maryland that helps build and coach entrepreneurial teams consisting largely of veterans of the National Security Agency (NSA) and other federal government agencies and laboratories.
The winners were Enveil, Immersive Labs, Inrupt, Panaseer, Prevailion, Quantum Xchange, and Source Defense. The eighth company winner declined to be identified for competitive reasons.
CEO Ellison Anne Williams, a 12-year NSA veteran, is working on breakthroughs in homomorphic encryption (HE), which enable the processing of encrypted data while it is use. Enveil’s core technology includes secure enclaves and multi-party computation. Enveil is the first-and-only commercial solution to ensure this full lifestyle security at scale, achieving previously impossible levels of data security.
This education company connects cyber pros and prospective pros involved in continuous cybersecurity training via on-line story-driven exercises that cover everything from cyber basics, to threat hunting, to reverse engineering malware. Hundreds of practical, gamified “laboratories” are dedicated to a huge range of cyber skills and mapped against industry frameworks. In contrast, founder James Hadley says traditional classroom-based cyber training is difficult to scale and cannot regularly keep pace with organizational needs.
Under the aegis of CEO John Bruce and co-founder Tim Berners-Lee, Inrupt is working on restoring the Internet to its original, decentralized roots as a way to sidestep cyber attacks. Bruce says that users have been conditioned to give data to a service provider for processing which opens security vulnerabilities. Inrupt’s alternative approach includes giving each human being a unique identification and a personal online data store.
CEO Nik Whitfield says his London-based startup believes that defining and implementing a robust cyber hygiene strategy is the key to preventing cyberattacks before they even happen. To this end, the company automatically consumes and analyses data from security, IT and business solutions, and provides complete and accurate visibility.
Comparing the compromise of third-party ecosystems to the outbreak of an epidemic, Prevailion CEO Karim Hijazi says his company focuses on identifying malware-based cyber attacks as they occur, materially reducing the time that an adversary can dwell within the networks of a target. Prevailion’s approach is to identify widespread attacks on corporate environments at scale, focusing on malicious signals rather than noise – a workaround of an overabundance of false positives.
CEO John Prisco sees his company as taking on the defensive possibilities of the impending revolution in quantum computing. Quantum Xchange creates a quantum key out of light and has extended the range of quantum key distribution beyond 100 kilometers. Quantum Xchange’s first-of-a-kind quantum-secured network, Phio, enables secure key-sharing over a wide network.