Deals

Former NSA teammates launch Area 1 Security, snag $2.5 million

Oren Falkowitz

Above: Oren Falkowitz

Image Credit: Courtesy Area 1 Security

Menlo Park-based security startup Area 1 Security pulled in $2.5 million in seed funding today.

Three of the five-member Area 1 Security team are former National Security Agency tech spooks, and the other two come from Disney and MIT, said founder and chief executive Oren Falkowitz.

Falkowitz spent eight years at the agency, where he specialized in “data missions;” that is, seeking out sophisticated computer network attacks, isolating them, and then analyzing their nature and specifics. It is those skills he’s bringing to Area 1 Security.

The security platform Falkowitz and company are building out is, to the founders at least, unique. It is the “first to deliver a security solution that eliminates targeted social engineering attacks by focusing on behavioral patters of delivery systems,” the startup said in a release.

The company looks at several factors in determining network attacks, Falkowitz says: how the attacks are delivered; the severity and patterns of the problem; distinguishing whether the attack is coming from a teenager sitting in a bedroom or from a nation state; and the volume of data involved.

Falkowitz posits that exotic malware, of the kind that siphon’s key personal data from your desktop or mobile device is, in most cases, detected far too long after it’s been successfully launched against you. By then, he says, it’s often too late to do anything about it.

Area 1 Security detects and works to isolate an attack before the thugs even have time to successfully launch it.

Inside the NSA, Falkowitz had a ringside seat to some of the most sophisticated data breaches and violent network attacks. Indeed, he led an NSA data team focused almost solely on attack prediction, analytics, and types of possible threats.

Investors in the seed round include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Cowboy Ventures, Data Collective Venture Capital, First Round Capital, Allegis Capital, and individual investors.