Area 1 Intelligence, a threat intelligence startup founded by former NSA employees has raised $2.5 million in funding. The company claims it is the first to deliver a security solution that eliminates targeted social engineering attacks by focusing on behavioral patterns of delivery systems.
Social engineering is a type of cyber attack that gets people to give over sensitive information through messages that seem real, but contain malware, or send users to fake sites that look real. These types of attacks have grown in frequency as they often still work even with trained security professionals, and it can be harder for software to stop it. The company says it plans to use the funding to build out the product.
Investors in Area 1 Security’s seed round include a range of security heavyweights including, Ted Schlein, KleinerPerkins Caufield & Byers; Cowboy Ventures; Data Collective (DCVC);First Round Capital; Allegis Capital; RedSeal Networks CEO and former Venrock partner Ray Rothrock; and Shape Security CEO Derek Smith.
The company’s founders met while they worked at the NSA and say that they will be levering that experience to deconstruct social engineering style attacks and provide threat intelligence to customers. The background of the founding team is notable given what we now know of NSA operations. This startup may be the first of a wave in which people with knowledge of programs like PRISM capitalize on their skillset.