Improved IT Security Thanks to Technological Innovation
Researchers of the Bern University of Applied Sciences have developed a novel tool that significantly improves the analysis of malware and herewith the protection against cyber attacks. Now that the company has been successfully funded and incorporated, the innovation is about to be launched on the market.
The defence against cyber attacks is a big challenge for companies and organisations. Malware, which stealthily infiltrates computer networks can cause significant damage, leakage of sensitive data and in the worst case paralyze an organisation. A team at the Research Institute for Security in the Information Society (RISIS), which is part of the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH), is researching defence mechanisms. Two researchers, professor Endre Bangerter and PhD student Jonas Wagner, have developed a novel technology, which significantly improves the possibilities to analyse and detect malware. The recently incorporated spin-off named threatray is about to launch their new tool on the market.
«When detecting malware, finding correlations with known attacks is what matters», explains Endre Bangerter. «Cyber criminals develop new malware continuously in order not to be detected. However, they often re-use single, very specific malware components. Once found, these give important hints about the malware and the attacker and therefore precious time is saved that allows to take counter measures faster.»
Manual analysis of suspicious software is very time consuming and expensive. The core innovation of their development is as follows explains Jonas Wagner: «Our tool detects correlations with a multitude of known malware samples automatically and in a very short time.»
From innovation to a product for the market
The two researchers plan to develop their core technology into a security product for the market. Because this goes beyond their research jobs at BFH, they decided to incorporate the spin-off threatray. This startup will not only develop the software but also offer services for their customers. They plan to hire four to eight people in the medium term, says Jonas Wagner.
The incorporation was supported by the «Business Angels» Thomas Dübendorfer (President, Swiss ICT Investor Club (SICTIC), former lecturer at ETH Zürich and former Security Engineer and Tech Lead at Google) and Mathias Wegmüller (Founder of startup Qumram). Their network and experience were very helpful to quickly finance the startup, says Endre Bangerter: «We managed to win several investors, which were highly familiar with our topic and the development of security software.» BFH, which entered into a spin-off contract, also gave a lot of support to the founders. threatray will continue to be in contact with BFH, Endre Bangerter said: «We expect students to write theses in our field of activity. Also lectures will benefit from experience gained in our spin-off.» The department for technology and computer science has created two dozen spin-offs since 1991, several of which became successful companies.