Cyber start-up founded by ex-Mossad head raises $22 million
"In Israel, cybersecurity is a necessity, it is real."
By EYTAN HALON
XM Cyber, an award-winning cybersecurity start-up founded by former Mossad director Tamir Pardo and leading figures from the intelligence community, has raised $22 million in funding, the company announced on Monday.The Herzliya-based company, which has raised a total of $32 million in venture capital finance to date, plans to use the additional funding to accelerate its growth by expanding sales, marketing and engineering programs.Co-founded by Pardo and intelligence community veterans Noam Erez and Boaz Gorodissky, XM Cyber’s fully-automated HaXM Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) simulation and remediation platform continuously exposes attack vectors, which are unprotected by existing measures that enable hackers to attack and compromise critical assets.While organizations may employ information technology and security teams to carry out labor-intensive identification and later remediation of security lapses in their networks, HaXM continuously leverages a multitude of offensive methods to rapidly expose blind spots and hidden attack vectors. It then provides data-driven solutions focused on the organization’s critical assets, thus enabling the company to optimize its cyber resources.“We don’t use tools that should remain undercover but real-life experience – working in the best offensive cyber fields allows the company to progress very fast and build a significant product,” Erez, the company’s chief executive, told The Jerusalem Post.“What we have seen during the many years of dealing with this business is that, despite the fact that there are so many wonderful protective measures in the world, there are new holes being made in huge networks by users on a daily basis,” he said. “Top-notch hackers can mimic legitimate user actions and go under the radar of those protective measures. They can walk from hole to hole and reach the crown jewels,” said Erez, who spent more than 25 years working in the Israeli intelligence community.Macquarie Capital, Our Innovation Fund, LP, UST Global, Nasdaq Ventures and others participated in the funding. This marks the first investment in Israel carried out by Nasdaq Ventures, an American financial multinational venture investment program. XM Cyber’s platform has received 16 industry awards this year alone, positioning the company as an emerging leader in the “breach and attack simulation” industry.“We are coming from a different approach because of our background. We have a product looking at your network from a hacker’s point of view,” Erez said. “We find the gaps that still exist under the radar of very protective measures and show our customers where to look and where to close the door so hackers won’t be able to gain access.”In June, the company was chosen from hundreds of candidates to be one of the World Economic Forum’s “Technology Pioneers,” a group of early-stage companies at the forefront of changing society and industry. Existing customers include leading financial institutions and critical infrastructure organizations in North America, Europe and Australia.Erez believes Israel’s position as a global leader in the field of cybersecurity is the result of the combination of the necessity to develop solutions and the local innovative ecosystem.“We had a meeting with intelligence colleagues who asked what is behind Israel’s cyber success. One young, 25-year-old Israeli told them: ‘For you it is cybersecurity and a job, for me it’s a matter of life and death.’ In Israel, cybersecurity is a necessity, it is real,” Erez said.“It’s also due to the great ecosystem in which we teach cyber skills to children [at] age 16 – for example, through the national Magshimim high school program. Many countries are trying to copy our ecosystem. Many Jewish mothers wanted their sons to be a doctor, now I joke that many Jewish mothers want their sons to work in cybersecurity.”
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